Building your medical library

A general listing of resources, in text print as well as online, can be a benefit to your office in reviewing medical records

Janabeth Fleming Taylor
2008 November

Whether your practice involves a client injury in the workplace, injury due to medical negligence, product defect or toxic chemicals you will have a need to obtain and review medical records.

At times the terms used in the medical records can be confusing and the rationale for diagnosis and treatment is not clear. In other instances you might need to review a standard of care as it relates to your client’s diagnosis and treatment.

Below is a general listing of resources, both in text print as well as online, that might be of benefit to your office.

We are all sensitive to the issue of overhead for the law office.  Therefore, you may want to consider obtaining some of these books as library materials for a shared legal medical library established through your local bar association or in cooperation with other plaintiff’s firms in your immediate area.

• Medical Abbreviations: 24,000 Conveniences at the Expense of Communications and Safety by Neil M. Davis

The paperback book is an excellent resource. This quick reference guide lists 24,000 meanings of medical abbreviations and 3,400 cross-referenced generic and brand drug names. There are thumb-tabbed pages and when you buy the book, you also receive a single-user access code to the Internet version of the book. The Internet version of the book is updated with 80 to 120 new entries each month.

Paperback: 430 pages, listed at under $20 from

Publisher: Davis Neil M. Associates (December 2002)

ISBN-10: 0931431115

ISBN-13: 978-0931431111

Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests with Nursing Implications (7th edition) by Joyce LeFever Kee

Each test is discussed in seven subsections in the following sequence: (1) reference values/normal findings, (2) description, (3) purpose, (4) clinical problems, (5) procedure, (6) factors affecting laboratory or diagnostic results and (7) nursing implications with rationale.

Following the name and initials for each test, there may be names of other closely associated tests. Reference values/normal findings are given for children and adults, including the elderly. The description focuses on background data and pertinent information related to the test. The general purpose for each test is listed. Clinical problems include disease entities, drugs and foods that cause or are associated with abnormal test results. The procedure is explained with a rationale for the test and with appropriate steps that the nurse and other health professionals can follow.  Factors affecting laboratory or diagnostic results alert the nurse to factors that could cause an abnormal test result. The last subsection and most valuable information for each test concerns the nursing implications with rationale. For most diagnostic tests, nursing implications are given as “pretest” and “posttest.”

Paperback: 832 pages, listed at under $40 from

Publisher: Prentice Hall; 7th edition (January 6, 2005)

ISBN-10: 0131182676

ISBN-13: 978-0131182677

• Alexander’s Care of the Patient in Surgery (13th edition) by Jane C. Rothrock, RN, DNSC, DNOR, FAAN

This book has been considered the standard in perioperative care for over 50 years and is a comprehensive reference for students and practitioners alike.  Unit I covers basic principles and patient care requisites.  Unit II details the step-by-step procedures for over 400 general and specialty surgical interventions.  The unique needs of ambulatory, pediatric, geriatric and trauma surgery patients are discussed in Unit III. New features include highlighted patient education and discharge planning, sample critical pathways, expanded coverage of endoscopic/minimally invasive procedures and Internet resources. The chapter entitled Surgical Modalities addresses today’s technologically advanced perioperative environment.

Hardcover: 1,280 pages, listed at under $80 from

Publisher: Mosby; 13th edition (November 30, 2006)

ISBN-10: 0323039278

ISBN-13: 978-0323039277

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (17th edition, Centennial Edition which includes a facsimile of the 1st Edition of the Merck Manual) by Mark H. Beers, Robert Berkow and Mark Burs

The most widely used medical text in the world and the hypochondriac’s bible, the Merck has the lowdown on the vast expanse of human diseases, disorders and injuries, as well as their symptoms and recommended therapy. It is intended for physicians and medical students, but though the type is tiny and the language technical, the Merck Manual is a valuable volume for anyone with more than a passing interest in bodily ills.

Hardcover: 2,833 pages, listed at under $40 from

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 17th edition (March 5, 1999)

ISBN-10: 0911910107

ISBN-13: 978-0911910100

Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice (6th edition) [3 Volume Set] by John A. Marx, James Adams, Peter Rosen, Robert S. Hockberger and Ron M. Walls

This three-volume set continues to be the premier source that defines the field of emergency medicine. It describes the science of emergency medicine and its application, focusing on the diagnosis and management of problems encountered in the emergency department.  This stellar new team of editors has introduced many new features including a “Cardinal Presentations” section, chapter consistency and more diagnostic imaging throughout. All of the existing chapters have been extensively revised and the lists have been edited to include more significant, up-to-date references.  The new 6th edition has added many color illustrations and also comes with membership to the Web site which enables the reader to access the online version of the text until a new edition is published.

Hardcover: 2,766 pages, listed at $452 from

Publisher: Elsevior, Mosby, Saunders


Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. (CAMH) Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals: The Official Handbook: Accreditation Policies, Standards, Scoring, Aggregations Rules, Decision Rules.

Oakbrook Terrace, IL, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, 2001. CAMH, $350.00; CAMH and 1-year update, $565.00; CAMH annual subscription update, $245.00.

Cecil Textbook of Medicine, (22nd edition) [CD-ROM] by Lee Goldman and Dennis Arthur Ausiello

These materials will give you comprehensive guidance on the scientific and biological basis of disease processes, pathophysiology, clinical practice protocols, clinical manifestations, diagnostic procedures and treatment strategies for all major organ system disorders. The outlay is great and the depth of coverage is excellent. It cuts to heart of internal medicine without giving you distracting [and often confusing] information.

CD-ROM, listed at under $170 at

Publisher: Saunders; 22nd edition (December 19, 2003)

ISBN-10: 0721639305 

ISBN-13: 978-0721639307

Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Pediatrics by William W. Hay, Myron J. Levin, Judith M. Sondheimer, and Robin R. Deterding

This book provides clinical information on ambulatory and inpatient medical care of children from birth through adolescence, focusing on clinical aspects of pediatric care and their underlying principles. Emphasis is on ambulatory care, acute critical care and a practical approach to pediatric disorders. This edition contains new chapters on developmental disorders and behavioral problems, substance abuse, allergic disorders and fluid, electrolyte and acid-base disorders and therapy, plus expanded illustrations.

Paperback: 1,306 pages, listed at under $184 from

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Medical; 18th edition (September 25, 2006)

ISBN-10: 0071463003

ISBN-13: 978-0071463003

Clinical Nursing Skills & Techniques (5th edition) by Anne Griffin Perry and Patricia Ann Potter

This text offers new up-to-date content and improved features, in addition to complete coverage of more than 200 nursing skills, a nursing process framework for a logical and consistent presentation, and a convenient two-column format with rationales for each skill step.

Paperback: 1,320 pages, listed at under $50 from

Publisher: W.B. Saunders Company; 5th edition (June 15, 2001)

ISBN-10: 0323014062

ISBN-13: 978-0323014069

Medicolegal Forms with Legal Analysis: Documenting Issues in the Patient-Physician Relationship by Karla L. Kinderman

This book covers issues such as informed consent, confidentiality and patient decision-making. Legal analysis is also provided, as are samples of documents and correspondence.

Paperback: 223 pages, listed at under $50 at

Publisher: American Medical Association Press; 2nd edition (May 15, 1999)

ISBN-10: 0899709052

ISBN-13: 978-0899709055

• Online Subscription: American College of Emergency Physicians – Critical Decisions

This publication is written for emergency room doctors. According to the Web site for the American College of Emergency Room Physicians at, each issue of Critical Decisions provides you with two lessons each month – on two topics that are relevant to emergency room practice.  These lessons are focused on keeping the subscriber abreast of changing technology, emerging disease trends, new pharmaceuticals and the myriad other facets of emergency medicine practice. The annual subscription for nonmembers is $352 a year. To order, go to the Web site at

Janabeth Fleming Taylor Janabeth Fleming Taylor

Bi oas of April 2010:

      Janabeth F. Taylor, R.N., R.N.C. has a degree in Nursing from Oklahoma State University and Litigation Paralegal Certificate from the University of Oklahoma Law Center. She was a nursing instructor for10 years and has been a medical legal consultant since 1990. Ms. Taylor is currently president/owner of Attorney’s Medical Services, Inc. in Corpus Christi, TX.

        In 2002 she was named the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Paralegal of   the Year. She provides litigation support for attorneys across the United States and specializes in case reviews and Internet      information resources. Her Web site is and her e-mail address is

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