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Neurologic Catastrophes in the Emergency Department

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    Neurologic Catastrophes in the Emergency Department. By eelco fm wijdicks. (Pp266, £42.50). Published by Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 1999. ISBN 0-7506-7055-X.

    One is naturally a little weary when asked to review a book entitled Neurologic Catastrophes in the Emergency Department. Why me? springs to mind. This said, swallowing my pride, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although the content is predictable enough; ischaemic stroke, haemorrhage, cord compression, infections etc, the presentation is special. It is an extremely accessible book, clearly laid out with key points of management and pharmacology appearing in shaded boxes (called capsules). The book is generously illustrated with informative diagrams (and I refer the reader, in particular, to that explaining assessment of the Glasgow coma scale) depicting procedures and anatomy. There are bountiful radiological images and a few select colour plates of clinical cases.

    The text is a monograph but Dr Wijdick's opinions and practices are clearly stated as such and on the whole the evidence, or lack of it, for a management decision is described and referenced. Although American, the principles are transatlantic and this should in no way deter the English reader.

    The content covers that dealt with by the neurologist, neurosurgeon, and casualty officer. It should be compulsory reading for those on the front line receiving such emergencies and may then play a part in preventing an emergency becoming a catastrophe. On the other hand, while providing the experienced neurologist with an enjoyable read, hopefully most are already fully acquainted with the up to date and appropriate management of a neurological emergency!