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Outcome after Head, Neck and Spinal Trauma, a medical legal guide.

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    Outcome after Head, Neck and Spinal Trauma, a medical legal guide. Edited by robert macfarlane anddavid g hardy. (Pp 439; £75.00). Published by Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 1997. ISBN 0-7506-2178-8.

    Although from its title this is a book for the neurosurgeon and orthopaedic surgeon, it will, I am sure, prove invaluable for the medical neurologist and indeed for all those who may be concerned with the effects of trauma on the central and peripheral nervous system.

    In so far as each aspect of neurological damage has its own author and chapter (and there are 42 chapters), I feared that there might be considerable overlap but fortunately, this is not so. Whether this happy state of affairs results from firm action on the part of the editors or great sense on the part of the authors is not clear but I am sure that there was some editorial control.

    In preparing opinions which may be needed in Court it is always well to be able to back one’s opinions with appropriate literature and in this respect the book should prove invaluable. There are references at the end of each chapter which amount to 27 pages of references in the book as a whole.

    I am not sure if it was necessary in a book of this nature to provide brief accounts of the legal processes associated with personal injury claims but I can understand why this was done even if I do not entirely agree with the decision. English legal processes are dealt with in John Gleave’s excellent chapter “Litigation and the Cauda Equina” but I cannot really see why the legal process in America appears, quite unexpectedly, at the end of the chapter entitled “soft tissue injuries of the face and mouth”.

    This, however, is but a minor criticism of an otherwise excellent book that should be on the shelf of anyone who has to write medico-legal reports on the effects of trauma of the head and spine.

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