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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Daniel R. Bronfin, M.D.(Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: This concise reference book designed for students of pediatric medicine opens with a simple introduction and proceeds with in-depth descriptions and differential diagnoses of the most common chief complaints. The last section briefly addresses selected topics over a wide range of pediatric subspecialties.
Purpose: This book strives to "provide (medical students) an orientation to pediatrics and the basics of what a student is expected to get out of the pediatrics clerkship.... It contains the amount of clinically relevant material that can be learned during a four to six week clerkship." Concepts, rather than facts, are the focus. A multitude of clerkship books on the market share the author's stated goal, but the chief complaint format distinguishes it from others.
Audience: Medical students in their third or fourth year currently engaged in a pediatric clerkship are the intended audience.
Features: Initially, the book explores the general concepts of pediatrics with a broad overview. It goes on to provide a thorough investigation of common pediatric chief complaints. The "Don't Miss" tables for each chief complaint alert medical students to illnesses with significantly increased morbidity/mortality that may masquerade as lesser medical problems. This formatting element reinforces the book's drive to encourage thinking in terms of differential diagnoses and risk reduction rather than fact memorization or flowcharts.
Assessment: This book represents another addition to the crowded field of high-yield pediatric textbooks. The narrative, with its "virtual-visit" approach, addresses each topic or chief complaint by walking readers through the history and physical examination. The book is first-rate and concise, with adequate depth for its intended audience. Unfortunately, other than the "Don't Miss" feature, the charts and tables contribute little to text clarification and are too long and cumbersome for quick reference. Overall, however, this book achieves its objectives and will be a valuable asset to students of pediatrics.