Jeffrey L. Brown, MD TELEPHONE MEDICINE St. Louis; Mosby, 1980, $11.95
The first chapter is excellent and should be compulsory reading for all physicians, medical students, nurses and other personnel who will be handling telephone calls.
The format of screening the questions in Chapter 2 is very good. It provides the questioner with a format to gain good insight into the illness, so that the physician can often differentially diagnose the patient's illness without talking with him or her.
Most of the advice for treatment in Chapter 3 is good. However, for example, some of us rarely prescribe suppositories and only occassionally enemas. The infectious disease sect ion is clear, concise and accurate, as was the chapter on emergency problems.
The last two chapters dea) with common pediatrie and psychological problems. Although 1 realize these were included because of the many phone calls received in these areas, most of those types of problems should be handled during routine well visits.
In conclusion, this is an excellent, well prepared, well thought out and concisely written book. I would recommend it for all offices with only several reservations: The first is that much control must be maintained over the receiver of the call (unless it is the physician himself taking the call). The physician bears the ultimate responsibility, and too often ancillary personnel are not totally qualified to give the proper advice. Secondly, it should have been emphasized in the book that if there is the least bit of doubt as to the seriousness of the call, the physician should handle it.