The author promises in his introduction to concentrate on evaluation of the plain film, which is a mainstay of diagnosis in emergency medicine. In general, he holds true to his promise but cannot resist the temptation to include examples of computerized axial tomography used in the assessment of the condition of an emergency patient. For this he can be forgiven, since the number, clarity, and relevance of his other illustrations are genuinely helpful to the practitioner of emergency medicine.
Particularly relevant are his discussion and illustrations of typical traumatic injuries to the extremities, spine, and head—the bread and butter of emergency medicine. Recent risk-factor analyses of emergency medical practices indicate that the most common claim against emergency physicians involves missed fractures. No competent emergency physicians would be expected to overlook a fracture of serious clinical importance. However, when interpreting scores of extremity, spine, and skull films during a night's duty