Reviewer: Edward J. Gurza, MD (Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine)
Description: To the vast majority of physicians who have practiced primary care in this country during the last 20 years, this book needs no introduction.
Purpose: This book, now in its 33rd edition, is described as a single-source reference in general medicine for practitioners.
Audience: It is dedicated to a wide audience: medical students, residents, practicing generalists, nurses, and other health practitioners. I have always been impressed with how well it reaches its intended audience. At the same time that it gives the third-year clerk up-to-date, concise descriptions of disease states with pertinent biochemical and pathophysiological information, it also gives the busy practitioner a rapid reference to the latest diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. There is no wasted information. Other topics very useful to the practice of medicine (obstetrics/gynecology, dentistry, ophthalmology, and psychiatry) are also included.
Features: There are few illustrations, but many well-designed tables can be found throughout the book. Each section, organized by organ systems, is followed by a list of citations of the current literature. This is certainly one of the best features. The annual updating to incorporate any recent advances, including drug information and bibliographies, is especially helpful in those fields undergoing rapid change, e.g., HIV infection. This alone is worth the price. Chapters are also included onpreventative medicine, nutrition, imaging procedures (with estimates of costs), and the special problems of the geriatric patient. In addition, there is a new chapter on medical decision making for 1994.
Assessment: Each January brings the latest edition of this well-written classic reference book. I cannot imagine anyone who cares for patients at any level being without this book on his or her desk. It is the best at what it does.