BMJ 2015;350:h3089 doi: 10.1136/bmj.h3089 (Published 8 June 2015)
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LETTERS DAVID SACKETT
David Sackett and the birth of Evidence Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM Peter E H Richardson managing director British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery, London WC2N 6ET, UK
Smith has written a most interesting obituary of Dave Sackett, whom I first met in 1995 at his office at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.1 I was publishing director for Churchill Livingstone and had made the appointment directly with him by email, of which he was a prolific and early user.
Sackett sat at a very large screen, talking to me and breaking off from time to time to take part in an evidence based medicine (EBM) email discussion group he had started. I was there to ask him to write a practical handbook on EBM for clinicians and students. After some searching questions he agreed and immediately summoned William Rosenberg, a clinical tutor in the department, and announced that they would be working together on the book. Brian Haynes of McMaster University, Canada, and W Scott Richardson of University of Rochester, USA, also joined the team, and the book was published in 1997 as Evidence Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM.
The first print run was 2500, and we knew that we had a success on our hands when it sold out in a week. The first edition went
on to sell 40 000 copies and was quickly followed by a second in 2000, with an accompanying CD-ROM (remember those?). Now in its fourth edition, it has sold some 150 000 copies in English and has been translated into several other languages.
The book did much to help Sackett spread his message about EBM, and in turn his many speaking engagements helped to sell it widely. With EBM now a mainstream part of the medical curriculum this book has perhaps served its main purpose, but its approachable, enthusiastic, and at times irreverent style has helped many clinicians and students to understand—and even enjoy—this important subject. Competing interests: None declared. 1
Smith R. David Sackett. BMJ 2015;350:h2639. (14 May.)
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