Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Maths in healthcare

Last week I checked through the page proofs for the new book that I have written with Paul Warburton, Mathematics Explained for Healthcare Practitioners. It's all gradually falling into place, with a view to publishing early 2013. We have a cover design and the marketing team are busy promoting the book.

Page proofs for a book like this always throw up a lot of problems, mainly to do with layout. Making sure the figures and text boxes are in the right place in relation to the main text is always a challenge, and in this book we have a feature called 'Spot the Errrors' in each chapter that has to have the answers over the page. That sounds simple, but it's no easy thing to achieve. Fortunately, we have a wonderfully patient and professional production editor, Jeanette Graham, with whom I have worked on many books.

Checking the page proofs made me realise what a lot of mathematics we cover here! The first check-up question in Chapter 1, Understanding the Number System, is:

Consider the numeral 72 405. (a) What does the 2 represent? (b) Write your answer to (a) using a power of 10. (c) What does the zero represent?

And one of the final check-up questions in Chapter 15, Application, is:

Lucy, aged 10 years, has been prescribed intravenous metronidazole at a dose of 7.5 mg/kg every 8 hours. Metronidazole is available as a 100-ml infusion bag containing 5 mg/ml. Lucy is weighed and found to be 32.5 kg.

              (a) What dosage is required every 8 hours for Lucy?
              (b) What volume of the prepared infusion bag is required to be infused?
              (c) The infusion is to be administered over 20 minutes. What rate should the infusion pump be set at to deliver the drug in the required time?

To get from one to the other is quite a mathematical journey!

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