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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Malford Tyson Pillow, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This is the second edition of a complaint-based reference for emergency physicians. The first edition was published in 1999.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a physician's reference for considering differential diagnoses presenting to the ER. It also serves as a quick reference and teaching tool. The approach is very useful as books of this type are often diagnosis-based instead of complaint-based.
Audience: According to the author, the book is written for practicing emergency physicians and residents/students in the ER. It will be most useful to residents and students in their training, but it does remain useful for established emergency physicians. The author and most of the contributors are emergency medicine physicians.
Features: A wide range of differential diagnoses is covered by dividing them into chief complaints. For each chief complaint, the book lists major considerations, diagnosis, and treatment options, and gives pertinent features of each diagnosis. At the end of each section are multiple references for further information. The best quality of the book is that it seems to exactly fit the niche for which it was designed. It will stimulate thought and a differential diagnosis based on complaint, and begins to discuss work-up of the patient. Since the book admittedly cannot cover the information in depth, the references are readily available to add information where the book leaves off.
Assessment: This book succeeds in its objective to be a concise, useful, complaint-based reference for practicing emergency physicians. Compared to other diagnostic books, this one's complaint-based approach is unique and offers readers the benefit of referencing problems in the same manner that they form differential diagnoses.