Diseases of the Ear, Nose & Throat in Children: An Introduction and Practical Guide

Review by L Flood
Middlesbrough, UK

It came as a nice surprise when this book arrived through my mailbox, rather than just onto my PC monitor, as I had expected. As with many others, these publishers prefer to offer an e book to reviewers, rather than sacrifice the forest to produce something that my generation can actually read. They do make exceptions however and I am grateful. Knowing the author and his lifetime contribution to paediatric ENT practice and training, I just had to see this textbook.

It is subtitled as an introduction and practical guide and the author’s introduction modestly describes it as “a little book” that fills “the lack of a short easy to read account”. I agree that 149 pages is not massive, but there is a very comprehensive coverage with key points, links, references for further reading and colour illustrations (some very familiar from earlier standard textbooks).

Early in the Introduction the author reminds us that “ORL doctors perform more surgical interventions in children than any other surgical discipline”, a message that merits constant repetition at the various surgical colleges. This opening chapter continues with a concise, but remarkably thorough, coverage of provision of children’s services, anaesthesia, analgesia and consent.

The paediatric consultation also has its pearls of wisdom. Read the notes (probably off a monitor these days) before admitting the patient and read up on any presented syndrome, just before they come in. Knowledge of normal developmental milestones, child protection issues and functional disorders closed a chapter that now had me convinced that this is a much more profound book than it size and subtitle suggests.

Each of the following chapters is devoted to a particular diagnosis rather than symptom complex, with titles such as balance disorders, the obstructed airway or the salivary glands. The introduction conceded the absence of implantational otology, but then Chapter 12 actually gives a nice coverage of bone conducting devices and cochlear implantation (enough to get one through most viva exams anyway).

A closing chapter on COVID-19 we must hope will lose its relevance, but the last paragraphs of the book are thought provoking, entitled “Children’s ORL Post Covid”. The long term effects on education, social development after isolation, lowered immunity and prolonged hospital waiting lists are disturbing. It reminded me of a concern expressed by our local neonatologists that premature babies were passing months after birth without seeing an unmasked human facial expression.

This book indeed proves to be an invaluable revision for our exit exam, but it also has much to offer to the general ENT surgeon, the paediatrician and those in primary care and it may well inspire the more senior medical student. This is a book packed with practical commonsense tips gained from a lifetime of super-specialisation.

Amazon Link: Diseases of the Ear, Nose & Throat in Children: An Introduction and Practical Guide
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