Does the specialty of emergency medicine encompass a unique and defined body of knowledge, or is it simply a sum of many parts from other fields? If a specialty possesses singular knowledge, then its textbooks should contain information not present in other specialty books.
For the past five years the two major archival works for emergency medicine have been Wilkins' MGH Textbook of Emergency Medicine (Williams & Wilkins Co, 1978; 800 pages) and Schwartz' Principles and Practice of Emergency Medicine (WB Saunders Co, 1978; two volumes, 1,500 pages). Now, senior editor Peter Rosen and his associates have published an excellent textbook that confirms the growing maturity and selfconfidence of emergency medicine as a specialty and shows that it is indeed a field that encompasses special knowledge.
In this book, the issue is not whether the theories or concepts of emergency medicine are unique—the basic science of emergency medicine is the
Cummins RO. Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. JAMA. 1983;250(23):3233. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340230081037
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