The forty-first edition gives over 5000 definitions and descriptions of medical terms and concepts accompanied by appendices on important subjects such as Health Economics, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Common Medical Tests and an address list of support and professional organisations. All material has been checked and updated with new and substantially revised entries on: abortion, anaesthetics, assisted conception, breast screening, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), clinical guidelines, clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, general practice, Gulf War syndrome, menopause, psychosomatic medicine.
Black’s Medical Dictionary first appeared in 1906. That new century was to see health care in the United Kingdom evolve from a largely personal, paternalistic consultation between doctor and patient, based more on medical tradition than medical science, to a complex, science-based, team-oriented and managed service. Even so, the core of medical practice has survived: the face-to-face consultation between doctor and patient. But the nature of this core activity has been irreversibly altered by a shift in the ‘balance of power’ between the participants as patients became better informed about their health, illnesses and possible treatments. A significant catalyst in the emergence of the informed patient has been the media, including publications like this dictionary, the contents of which have during its 41 editions reflected these changes in medicine.