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Book and Media Reviews
January 23, 2008

Textbook of Palliative Medicine

JAMA. 2008;299(3):346-352. doi:10.1001/jama.299.3.349

The field of palliative medicine is going through a growth spurt in the United States. In the last decade, new journals have been launched; the Institute of Medicine has published comprehensive reviews of palliative care practice; the National Institutes of Health has held a “State of the Science” conference; and a national consensus statement of standards for hospital-based palliative care has been published. In September 2006, the American Board of Medical Specialties voted unanimously to establish a subspecialty in hospice and palliative medicine, with 9 cosponsoring boards. Reflecting the field's maturation, the number of fellowships and hospital-based clinical programs is increasing exponentially. It is therefore no surprise that a second comprehensive medical book, the Textbook of Palliative Medicine, has been published to “disseminate the specialist knowledge of palliative medicine to all who wish to learn about it.” To a large degree, this internationally authored, comprehensive, 1100-page book has done an admirable job of reflecting the depth and complexity of the field.