Is there a doctor in the house?

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Pontiac Perspective  Peter J. Gauthier

Medicine, as with most disciplines, is becoming more and more specialized. The first contact a patient has with a doctor is usually with a family physician

Pontiac Perspective  Peter J. Gauthier

Medicine, as with most disciplines, is becoming more and more specialized. The first contact a patient has with a doctor is usually with a family physician
(or general practitioner). These practitioners are the main primary care specialists delivering medical care across the entire health spectrum to people of all ages.  Where necessary, the family physician will recommend and arrange for the services of a more
specialized health worker.
Physicians trained in internal medicine provide acute and chronic care to adults in an office or hospital setting. Pediatricians focus on the physical, emotional, and social health of neonates (new born children less than four weeks old), infants, children, adolescents and young adults. This specialty deals with health promotion and prevention, and the detection and management of physical, behavioural, developmental, mental/emotional, environmental and social problems that affect children.  Obstetricians provide care during pregnancy, labour and postpartum; Gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases. Geriatric medicine deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, remedial and social aspects of illness in older people, mainly those over 75 years of age.
Nephrologists treat diseases of the kidneys and urinary system (Nephros is the Greek word for
kidney). Gastroenterology is the specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders related to the digestive system including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and
large intestine, gallbladder,
pancreas and liver.
If surgery is required, the first specialist will usually be an Anesthesiologist. This doctor will evaluate the patient’s overall health, plan techniques, choose agents, administer anaesthesia, and monitor the effects of anaesthesia and surgery on the patient’s vital functions. The General Surgeon provides surgical care in a variety
of circumstances, which include: making a diagnosis, preoperative, operative and postoperative management of the patient; and the surgical treatment of the alimentary tract including the abdomen, the endocrine system, head and neck surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, surgical oncology, trauma and burns, transplants and vascular surgery.
Cardiac surgery is the area of surgery that deals with diseases of the pericardium, heart and vessels. Orthopedic surgery focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of diseases of the bones, joints, ligament, muscles, tendons and nerves. Urology is a surgical subspecialty that focuses on the medical and
surgical treatment of disorders and diseases of the female urinary tract and the male urogenital system. 
The above is only a partial list of medical doctors and their specialties needed in our modern medical system. Not mentioned are the nursing and technical specialists that support and make patient care possible. To benefit fully from our health care system, each and every user should attempt to understand the nature and purpose of every health care worker they come in contact with.