Reviewer: Tobin R. Efferen, MS, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This is a multiauthored handbook of emergency medicine based on the algorithms and protocols of the Detroit Receiving Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to compile frequently used but rarely memorized information in a pocket-sized book. The use of this format to present information in this manner is rapidly becoming obsolete with the advent of PDA based materials. The handbook does meet the stated objectives and serves as a useful reference for those who are unable or unwilling to use a PDA.
Audience: It is targeted at any practitioner of emergency medicine, from the medical student through the attending physician. The information is presented at an easy to understand level, but the book does not aim to serve as a stand alone guide to emergency medicine.
Features: The handbook contains a group of commonly accessed protocols, such as RSI, ACLS, etc., as well as a basic general medical reference of commonly presenting diagnoses. A brief pharmacopoeia is presented as well. One of the high points of the book is the section on treatment of specific diseases, which is helpful to the novice practitioner as a therapeutic starting point. There are many easy to read flow charts and algorithms, as well as an excellent illustration of c-spine radiography.
Assessment: This sort of information would be better presented in an electronic format and, indeed, most of it is easily available online. While the book is useful, it is in danger of becoming obsolete as of December of 2005 when the new ACLS guidelines were scheduled to be published, unless there are no substantial changes. There probably will be no need for a sixth edition of this book.