Edited by Fred Ferri
Published by Elsevier (August 2020)
I have used this book before and I am delighted to see that it continues to improve, it is updated due to being published annually. I would imagine that as soon as the book is finished for a new edition, the contributors start on the next edition, so the effort to produce such a book must be immense. The end product is certainly very impressive.
In fact the book is divided into 5 sections united within the whole of book to produce a seamless single volume textbook which contains a massive amount of information. This book is ideal for primary care and although this is fundamentally an American textbook, there is plenty here for a UK and global audience. The first section, diseases and disorders runs to an impressive 1463 pages and each topic is listed in alphabetical order which actually makes finding main and common topics quite easily. Often I found topics without having to use the index. The amount of detail and depth which is clinically relevant is very impressive and in fact the overall book is worth the first section alone. The amount of detail per subject is ideal for primary care. Yet there are four other sections to enjoy and use.
Section 2 is an impressive collection of differential diagnoses whilst section 3 has some very helpful clinical algorithms. Section 4 is a collection of laboratory test and section 5 is a compendium of clinical practice guidelines. At the end of the book there are some useful appendices and finally the index. Putting all this together in one textbook produces a powerful and fact rich collection of medical information which is of great assistance for a primary care practitioner. Without doubt, a huge amount of effort has gone into producing such an excellent book. Coming out every year means that it is refreshed and updated and gives the reader confidence that they are reading the latest thoughts and views.
I found this an excellent reference book, covering many areas that is important to a primary care physician. The layout is short bursts of text, in easy to read chunks which makes it more comfortable for the reader to absorb the information. Because of the useful 5 separate sections lay out, there are various ways of accessing the rich vein of knowledge that this book provides. For example on page 1352, there is an excellent 2 page spread review on thrombocytosis, this is in the diseases and disorders section and laid out in a logical fashion. On page 1628, in the differential diagnosis section, there is a simple of list of causes of this condition. Of course, the index unifies all this information anyway.
Another way of accessing this treasure trove of medical knowledge is to use the website or app which comes with the purchase price of this book. This is invaluable as this means the book’s contents are available on the move either through a computer or a mobile device via an app. The website follows the publisher’s usual layout and is easy to use and navigate. There is a link to Patient information leaflets in English and Spanish though do remember for a UK audience, they are aimed at a North American cohort. The app requires a 2.01GB download, a testament to the sheer volume of information found in this book.
I don’t think you need to buy this book every year but I am sure many UK healthcare professionals would like to own a copy (which includes digital access) and it comes at a competitive price. There is a lot to like about this excellent reference source and for what you get, I think it is keenly priced.
Dr Harry Brown 4th December 2020