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By Neville Robinson and George Hall. (Pp 191; £22.50.) BMJ Books, 2002. ISBN 0-7279- 1683-1.
This is aimed at trainees in their first year of anaesthesia. The book’s lighthearted, easy reading style cleverly passes on the tips and tactics that experienced anaesthetists use to avoid the disasters that lurk around every operating theatre corner. The 2nd edition of the book has been reduced in physical size to facilitate carrying around operating theatres and wards as a pocket book for easy reference.
The book is presented in three parts. The first part covers the “nuts and bolts” of anaesthetic practice with chapters dedicated to airway management, vascular access and fluid therapy, anaesthetic equipment, and monitors. The second part has eight chapters on “crises and complications” and the third part titled “Passing the gas” gives practical advice on administering anaesthesia for the common types of surgery that a trainee is exposed to in his first few months. The last two chapters of this section—“Anaesthesia in the corridor” and “Anaesthetic aphorisms” (aphorism = pithy saying!) nicely complete the book with several of my own favourite aphorisms included. Throughout the book are numerous pink boxes presenting the important information of the chapter or important management plans for a problem in a concise form; these are listed at the beginning of the book for easy reference.
A splendid read. Only one word of caution—some of the politically incorrect messages of the last chapter should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.