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Trauma care: beyond the resuscitation room
  1. ANDREW SWAIN, Clinical Director and A&E Consultant
  1. General Hospital, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 4TQ, UK

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    Trauma care: beyond the resuscitation room, Peter Driscoll, David Skinner, eds, pp ix + 312. BMJ Books, 1998. £135 (£130 to BMA members), hardback. ISBN 0 7279 0933 9. ★★★

    Trauma care is a new publication which attempts to fill a different niche from its predecessors. Although the first chapter deals with the initial assessment and management of the trauma patient, subsequent chapters attempt to bridge all treatment from initial assessment through to early definitive care, following a system-based approach. The book would make a good supplement to the Advanced Trauma Life Support manual and will be of interest to those working in Accident & Emergency Departments, to admitting doctors responsible for early in-patient care, and to specialists who wish to appraise themselves of current management in other specialties.

    The balance between initial and later management varies from one chapter to another. In the section on spinal injury for example, 16 pages are devoted to initial care and only the last four pages to definitive management. For abdominal injuries, the principles of early care are covered in the first four pages and the remaining seven are mainly surgical in content. Despite the title, some of the content of books that deal with the initial care of traumatised patients has been duplicated. Intensive care and specialist management justifiably predominate in certain areas, such as the chapter on shock.

    The editors state that the book “endeavours to be exhaustive in its scope from resuscitation to rehabilitation”. This is an ambitious aim, even in 300 pages. I am not convinced that the book fully encompasses rehabilitation, for example, in the chapter on limb injuries.

    The text is well organised and presented with many high-quality colour plates, X-rays and illustrations, and tables on almost every page. This raises the price to £110 which will be too expensive for many. However, it is readable and useful and each chapter lists references or recommendations for further reading. Most of the contributors are well established Consultants who have contributed to in other books on trauma.

    In summary, this book will appeal to those who are interested in or committed to the provision of care for patients suffering multiple trauma. The quality of reproduction is matched by the price and it certainly tries to encompass trauma care from resuscitation to rehabilitation, although that ambition has not been completely fulfilled in this first edition.

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