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From The CriticsReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: Although this is one of a number of physical diagnosis books, it is clearly one of the best. The first edition was published in 1989.
Purpose: In the preface, the author shares many thoughts about the changes taking place in medicine and asks the question, "Why, then, another edition of this book?" Her answer is simple yet stunningly hopeful, "There are still students who aspire to be physicians, not providers, gatekeepers, resource managers, or box-checkers.... This book is to provide them a compass, a road map, and perhaps, a little entertainment as they embark on an exciting journey of exploration, together with their most important teachers: their patients." Superbly stated and accomplished.
Audience: In the introduction, the author states that the book was written for clinicians of differing levels of experience and she accomplishes this quite well. Specifically, the book provides simple definitions for many medical terms and delves into many historical aspects that a medical student may find tedious, yet the experienced attending physician would find of interest. The book is easy to understand and includes many practical touches such as using classical photographs and artwork to illustrate draping a patient.
Features: Organized by organ system, the book is easy to navigate to research a specific issue. The figures and tables are highly intuitive. I usually mention the value of color photographs and to a degree this is important, but it should be noted that many of the clinical photographs are historical and most probably not available in color, a small limitation, if any, for this book. Among the outstanding features are the footnotes which clearly articulate the definitions used by the author and give extraordinary historical context to much of the material. Purchase of the book grants access to an online full-text version, which is a great benefit for medical students serving in clinical rotations away from home and away from their books.
Assessment: Without doubt, this is one of the best books on physical diagnosis available. The inclusion of material for all levels of readers, consistent with the author's stated goal, makes it an important addition to every clinician's library.