A student in the health professions soon realises that the standard (read, big) medical dictionaries are pretty useless affairs. Whilst the 100,000 or so entries corralled by either the Stedman’s or Dorland’s medical dictionaries may sound impressive, they rarely provide more than a line or two of information—which most reasonably bright people know already, or can tease out of the word or phrase itself, assuming they have a rudimentary knowledge of Greek and/or Latin roots.
But the opposite end of the spectrum is equally problematic. The “logo-naut” who drills down on a term can unintentionally pop out in China saddled with far too much, or even unrelated, information. What’s needed in the marketplace is a medical dictionary written by a doctor that provides Goldilocks (that’s you) with a porridge that’s just right.
I published this collection with McGraw-Hill in 2005 to fill the gap between too little and too much information. It is the first new major dictionary to be released in the last 70 years (discounting the Wiley’s International Dictionary of Medicine and Biology, which was published in 1986 and died in the first edition).
This book was designed from the ground up to address many of the issues that make the bigger products (Dorland’s, Stedman’s and Taber’s) less useful and less user friendly. It is written by a doctor for doctors.
It was gratifyingly well-received as a paper product by the targeted professional student and junior doctor audience. Its popularity expanded to reach a wider public from allied health professionals including nurses, physical therapists and medical transcriptionists to generic logophiles. Given that The Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine contains a cornucopia of useful terms that aren’t in the big medical dictionaries, I view it as a necessary supplement to either the Stedman’s or Dorland’s…which students may soon find make excellent doorstops or add just enough height to junior’s booster seat so he can fling mashed potatoes from eye level.
While I have revised The Concise–addressing all of the issues raised in one particular book review–paper dictionaries are headed towards extinction—I’ll let someone else switch off the lights when that last ship sails out the harbour. This edition thus straddles the divide between the fading paper and the burgeoning electronic worlds of medical lexicography.
In response to the sea change in delivering this genre of information, I am porting the material from a collection that now has 180,000 entries to a database (which as of today, has 152,780 entries) so future editions won’t be bogged down by the costs, delays and even legal issues inherent in print media. The next edition of The Concise will be bigger–I’m guessing at this point, somewhere between 65,000 and 75,000 entries–and should be available as an iPad product in July 2013…if I don’t go mad first.
I ask the reader who stumbles on the occasionally bumpy syntax in this work to be gentle, as I’m addressing everything at the database level. I take it for granted that the average reader using this work will know “standard” abbreviations–e.g., CSF, WBCs, RBCs, Hb, Hct and so on. Call it my Eurotrash-in-training snobbery or blame it on the three semesters I spent studying in Berlin, but EKG stands as electrocardiogram and electrocardiography; let the lexicographers wriggle and writhe.
The below link has a cover, the introduction, and a (nearly) complete list of terms found in the book.
The below link takes you to iTunes to get a sample or buy a copy