Book review: 2011 Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment, 50th An­ni­versary Edition

By Stephen J. McPhee, MD and Maxine A. Papa­dakis, MD. Whitby, ON: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2011. ISBN 978-0-07-170055-9. Paperback, 1808 pages. $88.95. 

First, a disclaimer. I did not actually read every page of this reference work. I doubt that anyone except the McGraw-Hill editorial staff actually has. But what I did do was read randomly selected sections, which is the way that this text will be used by virtually all those who access it.

It’s a very comprehensive piece of work that tries hard to cover everything that its intended audience would want. That intended audience is des­cribed in the Preface as house officers, medical students, other health profession students, internists, family physicians, hospitalists, nurse practitioners—you get the drift. Since this is the 50th edition of this text, the editors and publishers must be doing something right. 

Most reviewers will find it difficult to say if this book is a worthwhile purchase, given the number and range of resources available for aiding diagnosis and treatment in all fields of internal medicine and in specialties of interest to primary care practitioners—which is the stated purpose of this text. 

Because this text has an online counterpart (CMDT Online), the publishers likely realize that the future of such texts is not in print publishing but in online versions that are renewed constantly, not just annually. The sections that I read in their entirety (Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, Gynecologic Disorders, Obstet­rics & Obstetric Disorders, Blood Disorders, and Cancer) were predictably spread very wide and provided scant detail. I suspect that most of the in­tended audience would have already developed system-specific resources for when they need help with diagnosis and treatment (Harrison, anyone?). 

Nevertheless, I’m sure lots of people will buy this reference. Acquiring 1808 pages of text (when you include the index) for $89 is just too good a deal to pass up, even if coverage of most subjects is necessarily superficial and will soon be out of date. I would double-check the information it provides, just in case. 

Timothy C. Rowe, MBBS, FRCSC, FRCOG. Book review: 2011 Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment, 50th An­ni­versary Edition. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 3, April, 2011, Page(s) 134 - News.

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