Edited By Jason Payne-James and Richard Jones
Published by CRC Press (January 2020)
This was an interesting review because I used the eBook and not the physical book at all which of course has advantages and disadvantages. However, in this modern post lockdown era, we should be getting used to digital products and in fact this book was a pleasure to use. You may think that Forensic Medicine is a remote branch of medicine which has little or no interest to most doctors. If that is the case have a scroll through this eBook and there is lot here to interest a healthcare professional in a wide range of clinical disciplines. In particular, this book’s subject matter looks at specific areas of medicine that a healthcare professional may have little experience or exposure in their everyday activities.
Reviewing this eBook in the post lockdown period, I first looked at the section on the medico-legal aspects of death. As a result of Covid-19, some of the regulations have changed on death certification and superseded this book already but this chapter (Chapter 3) is still worth a read. Box 3.1 is a reminder on how to confirm death, something that many doctors will want to read and follow best practice. It is a process that is not always widely covered in standard medical literature.
There are other interesting gems that also are not always well covered in standard medical texts. In Chapter 5, there is an interesting section on Rigor Mortis. Just like death certification, the text is clear, concise and not deeply detailed and so is easy to read, particularly from a computer screen.
Of course Forensic Medicine is not always to do with death but there are other topics covered that are interesting and educational. A good example is Chapter 12 which is a chapter on heat, cold and electrical trauma. There is a lot of clinical detail here that is useful in emergency medicine and primary care and the section on hypothermia is excellent. The following section in electrical injury is also equally interesting.
As I said, this book does not concentrate on death but looks at clinical areas which could impact on our day to day workload, albeit in a peripheral manner. There is a very interesting chapter on a topic that I cannot recall reading elsewhere, namely on Police Custodial Healthcare. Obviously if you have an interest or involvement in this area, this is important reading but makes interesting reading for other healthcare professionals. Much more mainstream is the short but informative chapter (chapter 23) on alcohol.
This book is well written, clearly laid out and a pleasure to read but it’s stand out interest to me was the coverage of medical areas that are sometimes overlooked in the mainstream. Of course, it will be of great interest to those people who are interested in forensic medicine but there are a number of gems here that are sometimes overlooked in standard medical texts.
Some healthcare professions may find this a useful read on topics that may be peripheral but occasionally pertinent to them. The cost for the eBook is just over £30 and I think this represents good value for money. I found it fascinating learning of situations not familiar to me. This book would be an excellent addition to a personal or institutional digital library. I also enjoyed reading from the eBook-a sign of the times!
Dr Harry Brown