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The new children's hospital handbook 1999. Edited by Kilham H, Isaacs D. (Pp 409, paperback; $44.95) Sydney: New Children's Hospital, 1999. ISBN 0 9587 167 1 4
Any publication dropping onto the doormat of a paediatrician in Manchester at present that has a front cover showing a brand new children's hospital under a crystal clear blue sky had better be good if it hopes to receive an even handed review. Having resisted the initial desire to emigrate, I settled down to investigate whether the contents of the text matched the glossy cover. My first impulse for purchasing a book is based on the initial impression gained from a quick flick through the pages. So far so good. This handbook has a concise list of contents, well structured chapters covering the usual general paediatric topics, as well as eye catching sections on infant feeding and nutrition, pain management, the adolescent patient, and psychiatry. However, the ultimate test for any book that claims to be “a useful and practical guide for the management of sick children” is whether it proves to be just that. Many authors have claimed the above, but have produced texts that are too brief to be clinically useful, or in too much depth to provide clear and direct advice in times of trouble.
I can, without reservation, say that this publication definitely delivers. The details on clinical features, investigation, and subsequent treatment are pitched at just the right level to make it eminently useful. It enables you to confidently handle the vomiting diabetic child, develop a logical approach to the prescription of antibiotics in the pyrexial child, as well as manage less common problems such as febrile neutropenia and acute adrenal insufficiency. The chapters on fluid management, endocrinology, and infection are worth particular praise. There are colour coded pages for the most important information, and drug doses are only included when essential or relevant. Any criticisms I have are minor, but would include a rather too brief chapter on cardiology and the inclusion of a section on neonatology that might have been better left to a more specialist text.
I would definitely buy this book for myself, as well as recommending it to colleagues, both junior and more senior. It has the potential to become a valued member of any acute department and I suspect it will secure a well deserved corner in the handbook market.