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Medical Terminology*

Disorganized, Poorly Written Book

Merciful heavens! Where do I even start with all that is wrong with this book? The cover doesn’t really state this, but I believe the author intends this book for people early in their medical education. Unfortunately, the book suffers from multiple problems. The first thing I noticed was that the language of the book is ponderous and overblown. I don’t know if the author is a non-native English speaker or just thought that he had to puff up the language to make it have more gravitas. In any event, most sentences in this book just feel like a chore to read.

The book also poorly organized on several levels. I actually have studied medical terminology for a couple of different reasons—first as a medical transcriptionist and later as an RN—and most medical terminology texts have an inherent logical flow to them regarding how you first learn about the generalities of this specialized terminology and then get to the specifics. This book is all over the map in terms of organization. Parts of it are repetitious. Other areas that should be kept together are broken up with intervening information in between that doesn’t seem relevant to the other bits on either side of it. Some concepts that the author has given great importance to, like eponymous medical terms, are actually given such short shrift—as, in this case, there are many eponymous terms—that the glossing over the subject in this book doesn’t do them justice. And in a relatively short book like this, it is better to emphasize the horses rather than the zebras. Many of the topics listed in the table of contents—which is a hot mess—are given just a paragraph or two, not really enough to aid learning. Within the chapters/sections themselves, there is repetition and wordiness along with a nonlogical flow of ideas.

There is no consistency with the actual parts of medical terms themselves. Typically in medical terminology books, learning the roots, prefixes, and suffixes is the heart of the book, especially if learned in the context of body systems. The sections that address these are relatively short—so many more roots, prefixes, and suffixes could have been mentioned—and the section titles are not wholly accurate. For instance, the root section contains many prefixes. Why weren’t those just put in the prefix section? Sometimes prefixes and suffixes are set off with hyphens to show where they join roots, but sometimes they are not. Similarly, root words and combining forms have inconsistencies of format as well.

The author lists a variety of tools and resources to aid learning of this complex topic, but even these are split out into different sections. I cannot recommend this book. If you have an interest in medical terminology for personal or professional reasons, there are some great websites, apps, and books out there that would be much more useful for you than this.