Jonathan Wyatt, Robert Taylor, Kerstin de Wit, Emily Hotton
Published by Oxford University Press (June 2020)
Hopefully many readers will be conversant with the excellent Oxford Medical Handbooks series which many of us have both started and continued our medical or healthcare professional careers using these excellent and supportive handbooks. This outstanding and refreshed (with a new edition) member of this series, is a great addition to help a healthcare professional deal with a problem arising from emergency medicine. Like it’s siblings in the series, it has a vinyl cover but is much more than just a basic “handbook”. It packs in 779 pages and yet is only slightly larger in size (not thickness though) of my smartphone. Yet in reality; it is a fully fledged textbook which should help most people in the frontline either learn more or manage a patient with a specific problem.
Open up the front viny cover and the page facing you (it is not even numbered but printed on thicker paper) is worth a read and yet easily missed. It is a full page devoted to the golden rules of emergency medicine. These rules are a highly recommended read and a lot of it applies to many medical specialities, not just emergency medicine. The last rule “Each time you see a new condition, read up about it” is not only good common sense but takes us on neatly to the rest of the book.
There are 15 chapters that capture the essence of emergency medicine in considerable detail. Emergency medicine is a huge subject area and this excellent book goes a long way to support a healthcare professional deal with a myriad of situations. This book does a terrific job of providing emergency medicine information to a healthcare professional, no matter where they are in their career.
As I said, emergency medicine covers a wide subject area and this book seems to cover most areas. For example, as a GP I occasionally receive a raised potassium result when requesting U and Es. Management of this hyperkalaemia sometimes can be tricky, especially when the result can be spurious which is not uncommon. Pages 170-171 help the healthcare professional rationally handle this situation. Toxicology is well covered as are wounds, fractures and orthopaedics as well as medicine and surgery and psychiatry. For example, on page 624 there is an excellent section on managing the aggressive patient and following that is an important section on self harm (Page 628) Interestingly the section begins “The term deliberate self-harm is no longer used” I did not know that but from now on, I will drop that phrase.
In fact most major specialties which impact on emergency medicine care are covered and I was impressed what was covered in this handbook. Like all the Oxford Medical Handbooks, the book is easy to read and it is also easy to read up on a specific topic. This helps to fulfil the golden rule mentioned previously. The text is straight to the point, concise, informative and educational which also helps to improve patient care. Yet it is surprisingly comprehensive for this size of book and a lot of common and less common situations are covered in significant depth. This is achieved in part, because every word counts and the text is straight to the point. Exactly what many people want.
The book is very competitively priced and I am sure will support many healthcare professionals in their day to day work. There is no digital edition bundled with the purchase of the book (I am sure it would be appreciated) which is a shame but that is a small criticism of what is a great book.
Dr Harry Brown