Description: This is a compact, quick reference on some of the more common orthopedic emergencies children experience. Most of the chapters describe situations that would be encountered in the emergency department, but a few deal with matters that would require admission to a children's service and, hence, are a little remote to be classified as surgical emergencies.
Purpose: In his foreword, Dr. James McCarthy states "This textbook is a single source designed to provide updated information on the current treatment and best practices needed to care for patients with pediatric orthopedic surgical emergencies." Thus, "the primary purpose of this textbook is to assist the orthopedic surgeon whose on-call responsibilities require him or her to treat" children, generally in the emergency department. To that end, the book is reasonably successful, although far from comprehensive in either the extent of conditions covered or depth of information provided.
Audience: The book is written primarily for individuals with some degree of orthopedic background. It will be most valuable to orthopedic surgeons and residents, but also has value for students doing orthopedic or emergency rotations. The book may well inform emergency department personnel how to get started on the care of an orthopedically injured child. The two editors are members of pediatric orthopedic services with large pediatric trauma services at the University of Maryland and St. Christopher's Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. They have enlisted 22 writers from well-known and respected pediatric orthopedic centers throughout North America.
Features: Part I of the book's six parts contains three chapters, the first of which is a much shortened version of Advanced Trauma Life Support (a basic introduction to trauma that all surgeons should have completed if they are involved in any form of trauma care). The other two chapters discuss decision making for children with mangled limbs and compartment syndrome. In the next four parts, the editors proceed anatomically through spine (cervical injuries then thoracic and lumbar), upper extremity (of course, the supracondylar humeral fracture), lower extremity, and infections. Each section is limited to just 2 to 3 chapters, but they contain good, up-to-date information on current diagnosis and care. The last part contains a single chapter on slipped capital femoral epiphysis, which proves to be an interesting, informative, and current chapter, but how this qualifies as an orthopedic emergency is a little unclear.
Assessment: This is a short, solid, well-presented book on the most common pediatric orthopedic surgical emergencies. It will prove to be a good primer in the emergency department library or for aspiring or early training-level orthopedic residents.