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TOXICOLOGY HANDBOOK SECOND EDITION

Toxicology refers to the study of the effects of poisons, including the investigation, prevention and treatment of these effects. Although clinical toxicology is considered a relatively new subspecialty of emergency medicine in Australia, the science itself stretches across the span of human existence.

03 Jul 2011

TOXICOLOGY HANDBOOK SECOND EDITION – by Lindsay Murray, Frank Daly, Mark Little, Mike Cadogan

Churchill Livingstone Australia

ISBN: 9780729539395

Reviewed by Dr Julie Chan

Toxicology refers to the study of the effects of poisons, including the investigation, prevention and treatment of these effects. Although clinical toxicology is considered a relatively new subspecialty of emergency medicine in Australia, the science itself stretches across the span of human existence.

Poisons have been used for many purposes throughout history, most commonly as weapons, medicines and anti-venoms. Socrates was poisoned with hemlock, the most toxic ingredient of which is the neurotoxin coniine. Today, poisoning remains a frequent presentation to emergency departments. Poisoning poses multiple challenges to the clinician. It can present itself in a multitude of ways and is common in individuals experiencing significant psychiatric or social issues.

The Toxicology Handbook is written as a practical guide. Drs Lindsay Murray, Frank Daly, Mark Little and Mike Cadogan provide just the right amount of information in an easy-to-read format, with tables containing key points as well as handy tips along the way. The handbook starts with an explanation of the essential ‘risk assessment’ approach, which is secondary only to resuscitation in the management of these patients. The book then proceeds to discuss individual toxins in detail.

The book also addresses current controversies in the management of specific toxins. Of particular interest to local readers is the section dedicated to the management of bites, stings and envenoming specific to Australia, including specific information on antivenoms.

One particularly useful feature of the book is that it comes with full access to the electronic version of the text online, meaning that practitioners do not have to carry the book around with them.

The management of the poisoned patient delivered in a compassionate manner allows us to provide the best outcome for this vulnerable group of society. The Toxicology Handbook equips the reader with the information required to evaluate and manage these patients. It is a well-referenced resource for both students and clinicians and is particularly useful for those who are working in the emergency setting. The Toxicology Handbook has also been established as the primary reference in the Australian Poisons Information Centres.

Dr Julie Chan, critical care resident, The Alfred, Melbourne

 


Published: 03 Jul 2011