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“He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all.”

 William Osler

We have a passion for improving patient care. Our journey with The Atlas of Emergency Medicine began with superb mentors who instilled in us a drive to become excellent clinician educators. We discovered imaging was a powerful tool to take the learner “to the bedside” in a fashion unlike any other didactic technique. In 1994, much by chance, collegial networking brought three, then later four, of us together to pursue an aggressive goal of producing the most comprehensive source of high-quality emergency care images available. While there were some initial detractors, our first four editions received widespread praise, have been translated into multiple foreign languages, and have been reproduced in alternative electronic media. We are humbled and honored to present our fifth iteration.

Emergency care is defined by time and space. The emergency department is by far the most diverse melting pot of acute conditions in the hospital. Diagnostic accuracy, risk stratification, and treatment rely heavily on visual clues. We desire to maximize this practitioner skill for the benefit of our patients. We also strongly believe the visual experience, while sometimes downplayed within the hectic and time-pressured environment of modern medicine, is critical to education. Images can teach faster and with greater impact than many pages of text or hours of lecture.

We continue our pursuit of these goals with a substantially updated, expanded, and improved fifth edition of The Atlas of Emergency Medicine. Nearly all our changes and additions come from reader suggestions and criticisms as well as superb guidance from our editors at McGraw Hill. All are received with sincere gratitude.

We have reduced text to essential information to allow for more images and increasing depth. After extensive review and critique, new and replacement images and video have been added. While there have been radical changes in the way we access medical knowledge over the past two decades, an image in any form maintains a potent means to teach and learn. New chapters include Rheumatologic Conditions and Mental Health Conditions.

The audience for this text is all who provide emergency care, including clinicians, educators, residents, nurses, prehospital caregivers, medical technicians, and medical students. Many have also found it extremely useful as a review for written board examinations containing pictorial questions. Other healthcare workers, such as internists, family physicians, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, will find the Atlas a useful guide in identifying and treating acute conditions, where visual clues significantly guide, improve, and expedite diagnosis as well as treatment.

We thank the many contributors, readers, and editors who have helped make this edition possible. Lastly, and most importantly, we express our deepest gratitude to our patients who were willing to be a “great case” in the Atlas, thus ultimately paving the way for improved emergency care.

Kevin J. Knoop, MD, MS
Lawrence B. Stack, MD
Alan B. Storrow, MD
R. Jason Thurman, MD

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