Top Ten Medical Books

This week, I am teaming up with the Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday’s Top Ten Books of Genre X.  Its like a choose your own adventure.  I get to choose my very own book genre.  That is a bit of a problem.  You see, I like a bit of everything, much like my taste in music.  I flit between so many genres; I could be reading about a historical event one week, vampire drama the next and medical mysteries the next.

I have been contemplating all day (because clearly, what I should be doing while at work and on call is deciding what I write about in my blog).  I came to the conclusion that my last four years have been spent reading an inordinate volume of medical literature.  Probably good given I want to be a doctor when I grow up.  A little sad because I should have made more time to read for fun. I am also starting to feel the pressure from my lovely peers to study for the LMCC (my giant licensing exam at the end of four years of medical school that is now looming).  So, today, while waiting for consults, I cracked open an Internal Medicine textbook for both the benefit of the last few days of this rotation and for the benefit of my guilt.   And thus, I came to a conclusion of my topic…  The top ten medical textbooks.  I am such a geek.

Toronto Notes.  This is the first book on my list and my number one favorite.  It is literally the book with everything you need to know for the LMCC (literally, that was its purpose).  It is generally in point form with well-phrased brief paragraphs, clinical pearls in the margins and lots of easy to use diagrams and charts.  Plus, it is divided up by specialty and comes with perforated pages, so that if you want to, you can remove a section and put it in a binder (because it comes hole punched) (I am incapable of doing this because it is like defacing a book).  The sucker also comes with a pocket book, and access to a ton of online resources.  Awesomeness.  If only it didn’t weigh more than an infant.

OSCE and Clinical Skills Handbook by Katrina Hurley.  Written by a grad of my medical school, this is a resource that basically helped me survive second year medicine.  It is an all-inclusive preparatory guide for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination.  An exam that induces fear and strife into medical students everywhere.  This guide summarizes techniques and the rationale behind physical exam and history taking, gives sample scenarios and scoring and is conveniently distributed by body system.  It is a bit basic for higher level OSCEs, but the basic skills are necessary for all exams, not just the ones in second year.

Rapid Interpretation of EKGs by Dale Dubin.  This book was recommended to us in our first year Cardiology course.  I wish I had one of my own instead of borrowing from friends or the coveted library copies.  The thing is, they are out of print because buddy who wrote it got in some very serious legal trouble (not that I condone his legal trouble, but why remove a perfectly good and unrelated book from the market).  It dumbs down EKGs in a way that I haven’t found reproduced and in a way that makes me look at least ¼ less stunned on the wards.

Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine.  This was a must-buy for me.  All of the medicine residents have them and swear by them, so I acquired an online version.  The pocket manual is reasonably sized, but only fits in larger pockets.  They have fantastic summaries of all of the common diseases, presentations, differentials, treatments, and tests.  It is great for when you are in a pinch on call or on the floors.

The Case Files series.  This is a series of books by various authors that present all of the common specialties in a case based manner with multiple choice questions and written explanations, as well as additional information based around the case.  I found it to be a great study tool and useful when there is only time to read for a brief period.  The best one of all was the Obs/Gyn one, I found they are all variable in quality, but all were helpful in some way.

Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia by Richard Hamilton.  They make a ton of these yearly.  And just for clarification, I am referring to the lab coat one, which contains drug information.  Though, I also own the oncology one and it is delightful, as is the differential diagnosis one…  Back to the subject at hand… I would be lost without it.  It contains the indications, dosing and route for most of the drugs on the market with the variety of names they go by.  And it is so small it fits in a normal sized pocket.

First Aid for the Medicine Clerkship by Kaufman, Stead and Rusovici.  This is another useful one for studying in clerkship (obviously, just look at the title).  I generally don’t like point form books, but this is another one that is great to skim at the beginning of a rotation or near the end.  It is subspecialty based and offers summaries on the common diseases (and some less common), presentation, physical findings, differential diagnosis, labs, imaging, and treatments.  It also has little notes on the side that offer fun acronyms or ways of remembering information, for instance, “Argyll Robertson pupil: Like a prostitute, will accommodate, but will not react – the pupil accommodates, but is not light reactive.”  Thank you First Aid.  I will never forget that again.  It also gives tips on how to survive the wards and how to do well on rotations.  Helpful if it is one of your first rotations and you want to know how to look at least somewhat less stunned.

Acid-Base, Fluids, and Electrolytes Made Ridiculously Simple by Richard Preston.  This is another comeback from first year, but this time compliments of the nephrology course.  I don’t know about others out there, but this stuff never seems to stay in my head.  This is an easy to read, and somewhat entertaining description of the presentation, pathophysiology and treatment of all things acid-base and electrolyte.  It even has sample problems at the end of each chapter to make sure you get it before you go experimenting on humans.

Robins & Cotran’s Pathologic Basis of Disease by Kumar, Fausto, Aster & Arbas.  Most people groan at this book.  Because most people seem to dislike pathology.  Although it is not one of my favorites, my selective in it in January plus my fascination with why and how things happen seem to make it more appealing to me.  This book has something for everyone… Lots of pathology and slides, but also good summaries of diseases and fabulous explanations of pathophysiology, which is my big selling factor.  The book is a fortune.  I have a smaller med student version, but got to use the big one on my selective and nearly read the entire thing in the two weeks (this is a testament to my geekiness, my speed reading and the amount of “reading time” I had).

Case-Based Neurology by Anuradha Singh.  Neurology is probably my biggest challenge after nephrology.  And our neurology course is a beast, so this book was my buddy.  I remember better with cases and this also had lots of diagrams.  Plus, it wasn’t a terrible read.

I also have an honorable mention from my Nuc Med days:

The Pathophysiologic Basis of Nuclear Medicine by Abdelhamid Elgazzar.  Such a great book.  Plenty of images, well-written explanations in way more detail than any normal, reasonable person would want.  It talked about the pathophysiology of every disease and every imaging technique in use at the time of writing.

What are some of your favorite medical books or other textbooks/reference books? 

Please, share your thoughts!

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