Stephen Chapman, Grace Robinson, Rahul Shrimanker, Chris Turnbull and John Wrightson
Published by Oxford University Press (May 2021)
This is another blockbuster from the highly respected Oxford Medical Handbook Series and as expected, this is superb. Like the other siblings in the series, it is packed with huge amounts of information relevant to clinical practice, in the title topic. Yet it remains a handbook, albeit chunky at 1002 pages but at the same time, it is portable, informative and educational. It will also help you manage a patient and their clinical problems whilst at the same time, being relevant to a large audience. That could include students, postgraduates and established clinicians with an interest in respiratory medicine. Even better, this book, like many others in the series, represents superb value for money.
The contents section shows that the book covers a wide area, followed by the ever helpful symbols and abbreviations section which I think is vital in a modern textbook. Reading around topics is very easy in this book with excellent broad and surprisingly in depth coverage. It is primarily a British textbook, but I am sure would be relevant to a global audience.
Crucially it is well written, easy to read and packed with information that is relevant to the topic. I would say, this is information dense but highly readable and written with dealing with patients in mind. It is mainly text driven but I feel this is a positive and can be read as both as a textbook or can be used as an advisor to manage a problem. For example, on page 130 to page 136-there is a superb review of mesothelioma whilst the following 2 pages cover compensation for asbestos related diseases. Impressively Covid-19 is covered on page 645 though I am sure this will quickly date but there are other superb and reliable sources of information for this important topic.
Chapter 54 highlights the practical aspects of this book and looks at the important topic of inhalers and nebulisers. This section does not take long to read and it is easy to dip in and out of this book, relatively easy. This could also apply to Chapter 58 on oxygen therapy and on page 796 there is the sobering statistic that about a quarter of oxygen related fires are associated with fatalities. This is a thought that we should think about when dealing with patients and oxygen. It does not take long to read this excellent chapter on oxygen but I am sure at the end of the reading exercise, most of us will have learnt something new.
As you can guess, I think this is an excellent handbook of respiratory medicine though in reality, it feels like a good textbook packed into small dimensions. It is very keenly priced, and I think represents excellent value for money for the right reader. I have no criticism of the quality, quantity, or relevance of the book which I think scores very highly on all fronts. However, I think the book’s value would be enhanced by having a digital (web and app) version bundled with the purchase price. Even having to pay a bit more for this facility would be acceptable to most users.
Putting aside that minor grumble, this is an excellent handbook and another winner from the excellent Oxford Medical Handbook Series.
Dr Harry Brown
18th August 2021