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From The CriticsReviewer: Louis J. Merriam, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is an informative new book that addresses the issues involved in clinical decision making. The book contains 43 surgical cases that are presented to both experienced surgeons and a clinical psychologist as well as surgical residents. The thoughts of the clinicians are recorded and critiqued, which allows the reader to gain a better understanding of how these expert surgeons approach clinical problem-solving.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide the reader, through examination and discussion of case scenarios, with a method of utilizing scientific knowledge in combination with clinical intuition to tackle the simplest to most complex clinical problems. This is an important book as it supplies the reader with viewpoints from both the expert in the field and the resident in surgery. This enables students at all levels to gain a better understanding into the development of the interrelationship between ideas and behavior, and to apply these concepts to clinical problem-solving.
Audience: Although this book is targeted mainly toward the resident in surgery, it will be useful to both medical students and practicing physicians. Many of the cases discussed are pertinent to a variety of medical specialties and the methods of decision making can be applied by all who choose to read this book.
Features: The case scenarios are presented to surgeons with relatively little clinical information. The questions, conclusions, and management decisions are recorded directly with little editing, termed "think alouds." The second half of the book includes think alouds from residents in surgery, which allows comparison of the decision-making process between student and expert. At the end of each case is a discussion and commentary of the surgeons' observations by Dr. Abernathy and Dr. Hamm.
Assessment: This is an excellent book that investigates an area so important to clinical medicine, the decision-making process. In addition, it provides thoughtful and accurate ways to approach 43 of the more common surgical problems and is a useful resource for the student as well as the practicing physician.