Edited by Jane Sturgess, Derek Duane and Rebekah Ley
Published November 2018 by Oxford University Press
This is a superb book whose title accurately describes what lies between the covers, an essential guide on legal issues of interest to doctors and associated healthcare professionals. It is not a dry legal book but actually quite easy to read and dip into. As the foreword of the book acknowledges, relationships between the legal and medical professions are not always harmonious, especially when there is a complaint or litigation issue at stake. Like it or not, healthcare professionals and doctors in particular need to have a good understanding of the law with reference to medical practice. Sometimes when legal issues crop up, it can generate doctor/healthcare professional anxiety. It can be consent/mental health /dealing with the coroner or an investigation of professional standards, there are plenty of medico legal problems that can generate questions from a medic.
So step forwards this excellent British based book which of course is prefect if you work in the UK. However bear in mind that chapter 1 is titled “The English Legal System” but I am sure this book will be of interest to many people throughout the UK. It covers topical matters such as criminal liability in medical negligence, a subject that has recently hit the headlines and comes to the fore now and again. This is covered in section 4.5 on Page 46 and makes fascinating but worrying reading. Many of these high profile criminal liability cases, I recall and it is interesting to review them from the perspective of this book. Product liability (page 48) is also covered as well as assisted suicide and euthanasia (pages 82-84). Chapter 8 is very interesting on elderly care law whilst child protection on page 119 can be very useful. Chapter 13 is a useful review of the legal basis for prescribing.
Even better, this is a well written book with a good selection of summary points and it is not a dry legal text but a very readable book for a medic. There is a glossary of legal terms at the back which is most useful. There is also a token at the very front of the book which allows access to a website which provides some associated on line multiple choice questions with answers but the contents of the book are not available through this log in.
If I had a criticism of this book, it is that I wanted more! Of course it is meant to be readable and accessible and it very much succeeds but I would have loved more topics, it was that good. It deserves to have a new edition soon (Law like Medicine moves and changes quickly) and a great well done to the editors and contributors to produce such an excellent and useful book.
Dr Harry Brown