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Practical Perinatal Care—The Baby Under 1000 Grams. Gill Levitt, David Harvey, Richard Cooke [$165.00]. Butterworth Heinemann Hardback ISBN 0-7506-1717-9 .
Many will have experienced a feeling of being daunted when beginning a neonatal post as a doctor in training or as a neonatal nurse. The smaller the infant with which to be faced, the greater the concern over the ability to manage the infant appropriately. Levitt, Harvey and Cooke's Practical Perinatal Care—The Baby Under 1000 Grams goes a long way to provide a very readable but authoritative book which will help prepare those in neonatal medical or nurse training to manage these infants. The book has a wide range of chapters from the practical aspects of how to put in an arterial line, perform a suprapubic aspiration of the bladder or drain a pneumothorax, to ventilation strategies, and ethical issues of the management of extremely low birth weight infants. The authors have rightly concentrated on the subgroup of neonatal patients who are less than 1000g at birth as these are undoubtedly the most challenging group, where there is the greatest mortality and morbidity, and where there is the possibility to improve the outcome with good care. Each chapter is relatively short but provides clear information from an evidence based perspective where available and is very well referenced. There is an informative chapter on iatrogenic disease which reminds the reader as to the damage which may result from the procedures and treatment given, especially if care is not taken. All chapters conclude with a highlighted box of Practical Points and there are useful diagrams and a series of black and white photographs to aid the text, although occasionally these are too small to be of real value such as in the procedures chapter. Any senior house officer, specialist registrar, or neonatal nurse starting a neonatal post would be well advised to read this useful book which will sit nicely between the several general neonatal texts that are available and the more definitive works which will remain the mainstay of neonatal reference.
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