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Medical Bookshelf

Treatment Guide for Ailing Youngsters

November 27, 1986|ROSELLE M. LEWIS

Baby & Child A to Z Medical Handbook by Dr. Miriam Stoppard (Body Press, Division of HP Books Inc., P.O. Box 5375, Tucson, Ariz. 85703: hardcover, $19.95; paper,$9.95).

A British physician and author of a medical guide for the elderly, Dr. Miriam Stoppard is ambitious in covering the health-care spectrum. This time around, she begins her pediatric handbook with brief chapters of the child's musculature, endocrine and skeletal systems, including a useful chart of normal tooth growth.

Basic anatomy aside, Stoppard describes symptoms of the more common illnesses, instructing readers when to treat problems at home and when it's wise to call a doctor.

The short sections on nursing a sick child, safety precautions and first aid are excellent. But the heart of her book is the A-Z listing of common complaints, each section detailing symptoms of a disease or medical condition, followed by instructions on what the parents must do immediately and the treatment a physician might prescribe.

In this fashion Stoppard covers nearly 200 medical problems from acne (the infantile kind is triggered, as is its adolescent counterpart, by blockage of the sebaceous glands and is best treated by "ignoring the spots") to whooping cough.

Discussing autism, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and muscular dystrophy as examples of serious illnesses, Stoppard also describes Reye's Syndrome, a rare but often fatal reaction to aspirin.

Because Stoppard often takes a crisply clinical tone, her guide lacks the warm reassurance that's made Dr. Benjamin Spock's "baby" books household reference staples. Still, this amply illustrated handbook, with every page containing a photograph or drawing, lives up to the goal stated in the introduction: To help "an anxious parent faced with a sick child in the middle of the night (who) needs straight, uncomplicated information and advice."

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