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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
Book Review

The Health Care Worker, in State of the Arts Reviews, Occupational Medicine

VanDyke, Mark W. DO, MPH

Section Editor(s): Teichman, Ronald MD, MPH

Free Access

M.A. McDiarmid, MD, MPH, E.R. Kessler, MD, MPH, editors. 172 pp, October-December 1997. Hanley & Belfus, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. $36.00.

State of the Art Reviews in the past has published numerous title of significance to occupational medicine physicians. In this issue, theHealth Care Worker, the editors review timely topics concerning health care workers in their interface with their unusual and often hazardous work environment.

The authors have attempted to provide a timely review of current important subjects. The contents include a discussion on latex allergy, discussions of chemical hazards in health care workers, and hazardous drugs. There are also chapters on ergonomics programs, viral hepatitis, violence prevention, and HIV in the health care setting. A particularly interesting chapter was that on home health care workers, who have become an important component of the health care delivery continuum.

The material is presented clearly by the fourteen authors. The editors use multiple authors to review specific topics within their own fields of expertise. The material is formatted well, and the editing is fairly concise.

The book meets the authors' objectives of providing reviews of timely topics affecting health care workers. I especially appreciated the chapter on latex allergy and the one on establishing an ergonomics program. However, the book misses the single most important work-related health concern and problem of health care workers-work-related injuries. The magnitude of work-related injuries far exceeds the cost for any of the problems mentioned by the authors in this book. Certainly the need for programs for HIV status monitoring after exposure and viral hepatitis transmission prevention and chemical hazards exposure control are important, but as anyone who treats health care workers knows, the greatest work-related health care expense in a health care setting is work-related injuries.

This book will be extremely useful for occupational medicine physicians who treat or develop preventive programs for health care workers. I certainly will be adding it to my list of sources to review for issues on latex allergy, tuberculosis, and HIV prophylaxis.

Mark W. VanDyke, DO, MPH

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Books for review should be sent to Ronald Teichman, MD, MPH, Worksite Partners, 2741 Speissegger Drive, Suite 205, Charleston, SC 29405.

© Williams & Wilkins 1998. All Rights Reserved.


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