Ref: Gupta, A. Abernathy's Surgical secrets (The Secrets Series), 2004 (Book Review). Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Book Reviews; Vol. 7, No. 2 (July - December 2008): ; Published July 1, 2008, (Accessed:
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...The book is definitely of great help to students preparing for examinations, viva voce etc. as it provides a complete synopsis of surgery. It will be helpful not only to the under/post graduate students but also to the teaching faculty in framing a lecture. The lecture thus needn't be a totally didactic one...
Abernathy's Surgical secrets (The Secrets Series), 5th Edition by Alden H Harken, Ernest E Moore. Paperback, 9" x 6.4" x 0.8".
Hanley & Belfus, (An Imprint of Elsevier), The Curtis Center, Independence Square West, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, USA. Publication Date 2004. 381 pages, ISBN-10: 1560535865; ISBN-13: 978-1560535867. Price $11.99
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The book under review here is a clinical manual of Surgery. As the title explains, it attempts to explore the secrets of Surgery and presents them in a much simple and comprehensive manner.
This manual addresses the utmost basic information required in any surgical practice.
The text is formatted in the form of simple question and answers. Unlike other similar books available, the questions and answers are not direct paragraphs from any standard textbook. Instead they try to cover an entire topic in a systematic and clinically oriented manner. Each topic begins with the simplest of questions, as - what is fever? what is infection? There are certain questions on very commonly encountered problems, which make the reader realize the importance of that clinical scenario e.g. why is post operative urine output monitoring done?
The book is divided into few sections.
The first chapter gives details on history taking, examination and recording cases. The initial few chapters cover the general principles of Surgery and management like nutrition, anesthesia, asepsis, antibiotic prophylaxis etc.
The next section of the book is related to trauma management (non orthopedic). Each question serves as a checkpoint in diagnosing and deciding the plan of management, specially taking care of the golden period in trauma patients.
The third section of the manual covers systemic diseases. The questions are framed in a manner similar to the way a problem is addressed in a clinic. For example- how will a patient of acute pancreatitis present? What can be the probable etiologies? What investigations will help to diagnose and rule out other differential diagnosis? What are the available modes of treatment? When to decide to switch from conservative to surgical mode of treatment.
There is a separate section on pediatric surgery. It discusses almost all pediatric surgical cases and how their presentation differs from an adult case.
The book is definitely of great help to students preparing for examinations, viva voce etc. as it provides a complete synopsis of surgery. It will be helpful not only to the under/post graduate students but also to the teaching faculty in framing a lecture. The lecture thus needn't be a totally didactic one.
A list of references has been provided at the end of each topic, which increases scope for any further details.
The book is not a textbook. It neither explains any anatomical details nor the steps of any surgical procedures. Unlike a textbook it doesn't provide any explicit diagrams. It does not give much supporting radiographic pictures.
One of the additions that will be welcomed is inclusion of clinical problems/checkpoints that depict how stepwise decisions are made in the treatment of a patient.
The book is thus only a surgical manual/handbook. It is of extreme importance in any surgical clinic. As a handbook it provides easily accessible information.
The size of the book is not more than that of a handbook.
Finally, the book is the secret to a successful surgical practice.
A must buy.
Dr. Aashima Gupta is a graduate from Maulana Azad Medical College, where she consistently toppped in every subject. She was chosen as the best student of the Maulana Azad Medical College. A keen learner, she pursues reading with great zeal. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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