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Medicine for Medical Students by Marc Crutchley

Medicine for Medical StudentsAbout a month ago, Dr Marc Crutchley sent me a copy of his new book, Medicine for Medical Students, and asked me if I’d review it on here. Clearly, that’s not something I’d normally do – I don’t think I’ve reviewed any sort of medical textbook of any description on this site ever… but I’m raving about this one.

I’m struggling a bit to come up with a way of describing the book without it sounding crap. Essentially, it’s written by a recently qualified doctor, and aims to be everything you need to know as a medical student condensed into 118 pages, so that readers no longer have to spend a fortune on 600 different textbooks. And it works really, really well.

I’ve seen books like this before, and never really liked them – I’m sure most other medical students have too – but this one is just great. It’s brilliant not only for revision, but also for those mornings when you wake up, realise you’re on some other speciality that day and can’t remember a thing about it – flick to the relevant section, and you can get a thorough but quick reminder of most things you’re likely to see and do before you’ve finished your cornflakes.

The content does require a fair amount of prior knowledge, and wouldn’t be great for someone learning things for the first time, but as a revision aid it is just fabulous – primarily because it assumes a basic level of knowledge, and also doesn’t go into complex depth – it’s pitched at exactly the right level.

I’m currently so enthusiastic about this book and its ideology that I think I might still be raving about it in a decade’s time, much like I still rave about QBasic by Example despite the fact that QBasic is now a relatively archaic programming language and that I haven’t written a program in it for almost a decade.

My writing is getting more rambling by the day, isn’t it?

Dr Crutchley also has a lecture series available for sale, and is in the process of making a clinical skills DVD.

You can get the book and the lectures from his website – TheMedicalStudent.com – both come very highly recommended.

As there’s no way on Earth that I’m going to give away my review copy of this book, a donation has been made to charity to keep this post in line with my ethical review policy.

This post was filed under: Reviews.

Automatic organ ‘donation’

This decision over one’s own body is for the conscience – the conscience of individual citizens in this country. It is not for this Parliament, by free vote or other vote, to impose upon them a requisition of their bodies after death for the state.

So said John Reid, a little over three years ago. It would appear that Gordon Brown now disagrees. And, for once, I agree with Reid.

I have no moral, religious, or ideological issues with organ donation, and have been a registered organ donor for several years. I do, however, have a strong objection to the proposed suspension of the idea of informed consent – a guiding principle of modern medical practice.

There are so many deep practical problems with the idea of presumed ‘consent’ – not least of all that presumed consent in such a context is realistically no consent at all, and that once a mistake has been made, it cannot be undone.

But, most of all, we’re skipping steps. We’re going from a situation of maintaining a relatively little-known and little-promoted organ donor register to presumed consent, without trying anything in between.

For appropriate candidates, it should be made a legal requirement that relatives are asked about organ donation as part of the death certification. This would immediately increase the number of donations, as doctors are poor at asking such questions for fear of embarrassment, insensitivity, and upset. As a standard legal question it would be unavoidable.

This would be a simple, non-controversial measure that could be put in place very quickly and would increase the number of viable organs available for transplant.

Why don’t we give it a go?

This post was filed under: Health, Miscellaneous, News and Comment, Politics.

Peter Hain’s forgetfulness

Surely Peter Hain can’t keep both his ministerial posts for much longer?

‘Forgetting’ to declare over £100,000 twice – once to the Electoral Commission and once to the register of Members’ Interests – is stretching the boundaries of belief, but forgetting even when already hiding where the money is coming from by setting up dodgy think tanks which have never actually met is simply unbelievable.

And then seemingly publicly endorsing donors… Surely he’s pushed this too far.

Besides, it seems a rare thing for a minister to publicly say they won’t resign and then manage to keep their job – see Blunkett, Clarke, et al.

This post was filed under: Politics.

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