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January 8, 1992

Emergency Medicine: An Approach to Clinical Problem-Solving

Author Affiliations

William Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak, Mich

JAMA. 1992;267(2):299. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480020109044

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This text joins an ever-increasing swell of new textbooks on emergency medicine. Seeming aware of this proliferation, Hamilton et al offer a unique approach. They structure chapters based on presenting complaints, rather than diagnosis, just as emergency physicians encounter patients. They aim this text at medical students, interns, and moonlighters as the audience who may most benefit from this didactic method.

An emergency medicine text classically fills two general roles: a source textbook of disease states, their presentation, pathophysiology, treatment, and clinical course; and a bedside reference for specific questions encountered while working in the emergency department. Hamilton et al add a third function: teaching aspects of the clinical approach and decision making necessary in the compressed time frame of the emergency department encounter.

The excellent introductory chapter is crucial to understanding how to read this text. It describes better than anything I have ever read how emergency physicians think.