Hutchison’s Clinical Methods is a book for students of all ages and all degrees of experience. Although the scope, complexity and technology of clinical medicine continues to evolve with great speed, the aim of this text is exactly as it was when Robert Hutchison published the very first edition in 1897: to provide insight into the acquisition of the traditional clinical skills of history taking and physical examination leading to the formulation of a differential diagnosis and management plan.
This approach remains as essential as ever to providing good patient care; indeed, as the array of potential investigations expands (and the overall cost continues to rise), it is imperative that such technological advances are integrated with traditional methods.
Even though many patients now have easy access, via the Internet, to information about disease and diagnosis, it is the editors’ experience that patients appreciate just as much as ever time spent listening to their symptoms, careful physical examination and simple human compassion. Although the circumstances of clinical practice of the readers will vary hugely across the world (with different structures and levels of funding of healthcare), a sound clinical method is indispensable.
The organisation of this edition adheres to Hutchison’s original approach, with sections on the overall patient assessment, assessment in particular situations, the core body systems and key clinical specialties. Overall, this forms a logical sequence if read straight through but also allows study of each section separately.
As in previous editions, new contributors have joined the book. Some have written entirely new chapters and others have modified the work of their predecessors (including the work of Alan Naftalin, Consultant Gynaecologist, who has sadly died since the last edition was published). All the contributors are accustomed to working closely together and the book reflects these professional relationships.