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28th June 1998

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Book Review

Now you know the law

Court work and pleadings by Chandrasena Daluwatte. Reviewed by E.A. Liyanagama

Ordinary citizens should possess some knowledge of court work not because they should be their own lawyers, but because a citizen should have a fair idea of the work in Courts. Mr. Daluwatte in this book in five chapters and in simple and lucid Sinhala has explained to the lay reader the nature of Court work beginning from the lowest Court and ending in the highest Court. That is from the Primary Court to the Supreme Court.

It is therefore, a book which the common man needed for a long time. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse for anybody. But everybody cannot be a lawyer and need not be a lawyer”. It is evident that legal advice can be given by a handy book of this nature.

Mr. Daluwatte is a lawyer who has enjoyed uninterrupted practice both in the Criminal law and in the Civil law for over 35 years. He has guided and trained over 50 students in the practical side of the legal profession.

The second part of this book in three Chapters, gives the manner in which pleadings should be drafted both in Criminal cases and in Civil cases.

If pleadings are incorrect and not in order the case cannot proceed. This has been made clear on many an occasion by the Honourable Judges of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

According to the present day rule all pleadings namely, plaint, answer, replication and further pleadings have to be filed in the Courts of the entire island in Sinhala and Tamil. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be a book containing literature on drafting pleadings in Sinhala to the Civil courts of the entire Island other than the Northern and Eastern Provinces where the pleadings have to be in Tamil.

Title: “Auscultation of the Heart: A Cardiophonetic Approach,” written by Dr. Tantramuladige Anthony Don Michael and published by McGraw-Hill

A heart throb in the USA

The book has almost sold out its first edition in three months. Auscultation refers to diagnosis of heart condition using the stethoscope and is derived from the Latin word auscultare, or to hear. Dr. Don Michael received his training in the Sri Lankan medical faculty and in England, under the auspices of Paul Wood and Aubrey Leatham, two giants in the field of clinical cardiology. The book that he has written was commissioned by McGraw-Hill for a specific reason.

Firstly, his pre-eminence in the field of bedside diagnosis was their driving reason in asking him to write a book on this subject which would help American physicians to more effectively make a diagnosis without extensive testing. These skills were learnt in Sri Lanka and London.

Three decades in the United States have witnessed a decline in the bedside diagnostic skills of the US doctor. Several authors have written extensively in the US concerning this phenomenon and have decried the deterioration of American medicine and its devolution into a state in which cardiologists needed expensive tests to come up with a diagnosis. This is stated aptly by H.J.C. Swan, MD, Professor of Medicine, who wrote the foreward of Dr. Don Michael’s book, in which he states that technological advances have come at the price of relative neglect of auscultation.

Stethoscope virtuosity was the hallmark of a clinical cardiologist.

This has been replaced by the high-tech. cardiologist who spent time on tests and not on patients.

Arriving at a point in time when there is a limitation on the availability of tests due to cost containment, the book is extremely timely. Dr. Don Michael, in creating the book, is also responsible for using his vocal and musical skills in translating heart sound into a language.

This phenomenon was the basis of the innovative approach that he took in creating the book. Referring to Dr. Don Michael’s book, Dr. James A. Shaver, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, and author of a chapter in Braunwald’s textbook of cardiology, states that the breakthrough teaching tool used by Dr. Don Michael simplifies heart sounds and murmurs into their phonetic tools, enabling identification of telltale sounds of heart sounds with confidence.

  • The textbook is concise, reviewing basic physiological principles step-by-step.
  • It provides a complete textbook of cardiology with a history of physical findings and antecedents to auscultation for use at the bedside.
  • It provides the means of selecting appropriate tests that relate to clinical findings.
  • It incorporates a multimedia, 3.5" diskette which can be installed onto a laptop computer, and matched with the heart sounds as well as sound card which carries the phonetics.
  • Dr. Don Michael has also created an ingenious method of phonetically describing heart sounds and murmurs that is in advance over the unusual but uncertain descriptors like blowing and harsh. Later on in this review, Dr. Fellitti also compares the book to the classic work on auscultation by Drs. Levine and Proctor Harvey, and states that the book has incorporated modern technology to upgrade this work.

    Dr. Don Michael is a Sri Lankan, a Peterite, and is a Professor of Medicine at UCLA who has constantly in the past thirty years brought teams to Sri Lanka, shown his loyalty to his country, and has been intimately interested in the education and welfare of cardiology in Sri Lanka.

    He was honoured as Vidyajothi and listed among the 50 great Sri Lankans since the Independence, and served as Consul in California. Consisting of ten chapters, 399 pages it is is augmented by the floppy diskette, the pocket portable sound card, and is priced at $39.95. A sign of its success is the fact that it is already into its second printing within three months of its introduction. Dr. Don Michael has gifted a copy to the President, and this was acknowledged with thanks. - C.R.H.

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