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$89 is just too good a deal to pass up, even if coverage of most subjects is necessarily superficial and will soon be out of date.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.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org