Thursday 31 March 2011

On handbook for interns

Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine (ISBN-10: 1608319059) by Marc S. Sabatine. This was a very handy in your pocket reference for about 85% of questions and practical issues I had on wards. easy to carry in pocket and has answers to almost all intern type questions you will face on the wards/night float or in the ICU. The downside is that you have to know some medicine to get the best of this book. It can be terse but it is so jam packed with information that it would be remiss to not recommend this book for interns.

Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics (
ISBN-10: 1608310035): This book is a great go between the heavy textbooks and some carry on books. The advantage is that you could get easily used to the text and the way it reads. I personally have read this book from cover to cover at least 3 times and some specific chapters in this book more than 10 times. It was thoroughly pleasurable read. The down side is that the book is heavy enough to not be carry around. This and the MGH handbook have been more than enough for all of my residency needs by the bed side.

Some other notables to have are

Sanford guide to antimicrobial therapy (ISBN-10: 1930808658)
Tarascon Pocket Medicine Pharmacopoeia (ISBN-10: 1449624243)
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment [CMDT] (ISBN-10: 0071763724)
Five Minute Clinical Consult (ISBN-10: 1451103034)

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This is a great resource on the wards, in the clinics and on the go if you have a computer around. The advantage is you can look up medications and specific conditions. The big drawback about this site is that the search function is not great and when you search a particular topic you also get a lot of irrelevant hits. That aside the site provides extremely current information on management, guideline and protocols for patient care. The site requires subscription and it can be bought for about 600$ for individual basis. Most institutions are subscribed to the up-to-date and have a institutional license.  Also great for looking up drugs as Lexi-comp has a tie in with


This is THE most useful reference on the rounds or in the clinics when you are wanting disease specific information.

Screen shot of emedicine. Copyright emedicine, for illustration only

The format is well laid out and is easy to read. The subdivisions are intuitive and one can go right to the section of interest is needed. Luckily most of the website is free and can be accessed from anywhere.


  1. what about pediatrics handbook?

    1. Great idea Dr. Pushpa. i will include those as an addendum to the article.

    2. I asked some of me pediatric colleagues and they recommended the Harriet Lane Handbook for peds.


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