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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Anthony Shanks, MD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This third edition of a pocket reference for obstetrics and gynecology updates algorithms for commonly encountered problems.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide concise, up-to-date information for residents or clinicians. This is a worthwhile - and vital - objective, and the authors do a good job of meeting it.
Audience: The book is clear enough to reach a wide audience. Students, residents, and nurses will all derive benefit. Physicians also may benefit, but may find some of the explanations lacking. The Oxford Handbook series is a reputable one and the contributors are all from established U.K. institutions.
Features: Because this is a handbook and space is at a premium, there is a lack of references to support some of the recommendations. I appreciated the tables on the inside front and back covers of the book that provide easy access to common medications and lab values. However, the book is very difficult to navigate. The table of contents should be tabbed or flagged to make it easier to find, although the index is much more helpful. The choice of topics is good; rhesus disease is a nice example, although differences between U.S. and U.K. terminology arise. In the U.S., critical titers are reported as a ratio as opposed to an absolute level. In the multiple gestation chapter, aspirin is recommended, yet the data is not provided. Throughout, the book provides quick yes/no answers to whether things should be started or not. More inquisitive readers would have to do some investigation to find out the evidence behind such decisions. The middle of the book covers obstetrical emergencies and is clearly listed in green, which makes it easy to access. I wish the rest of the book was as easy to navigate.
Assessment: This is a solid handbook with briefly stated, up-to-date information. There is a lack of references for inquisitive readers and it is difficult to find specific topics given the amount of information this book covers. It may have been better to divide the handbook into an obstetrics manual and a gynecology manual. Overall, though, it is a solid contribution for U.K. obstetricians/gynecologists.