When I was first presented with the Halloween-like graphic that is displayed on the cover of this 230-page book, I wondered what scary stories may lie ahead. To my delight, by the time I’d turned over the first few pages, I was totally hooked. I became transfixed and engrossed in each vignette; the pitfalls encountered in the case, the medico-legal consequences of challenging decision making, and unanticipated major complications from ordinary events.

These stories ranged across a whole spectrum of ENT practice. As an otolaryngology trainee, I’ve always been keen to recognise and learn from precarious situations in the hope that it paves the way to adulthood as a consultant. So I am always grateful to learn pearls of wisdom from other colleagues.

This book was written following the success of the ‘Scary Cases Conference’ which has been held at Boston University School of Medicine since 2011. The merits of this book are largely attributed to the many brave clinicians that give first-hand accounts of how they managed their own ‘scary cases’.

Various scenarios are covered over 28 case-based discussions including typical areas of controversy such as: how to manage intractable Menière’s disease in a patient with only one hearing ear; the consequences that may arise from exposing parapharyngeal fat during a simple tonsillectomy; how to manage a patient that has been seeing you in clinic for years with ‘chronic rhinosinusitis’ that you later discover has nasal lymphoma; and how to prevent yourself from being seduced into performing a tracheostomy by an institutionalised patient with Munchausen’s that continually presents to A&E with airway complications.

At $99.95, the book may be a little on the expensive side, but the tips and wisdom imparted throughout the book, highly outweigh its cost. A truly rare and formidable text, for which I would give 5/5!

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Hala Kanona

The Royal National Ear Nose and Throat and Eastman Dental Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.

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