While the title Doctor holds a particular image within our language, there are actually over sixty different specialties in the field of medicine that can hold that designation.
The most familiar image of a doctor is the family general practitioner. He is the health care provider that will know the most about you as he is the first line of defense against the ailments and diseases that may assault your well being. The general practitioner in many ways must be more highly trained and educated than many of his counterparts, as he must be able to recognize a much wider range of problems. It is the general practitioner's job to treat the routine problems that his patients suffer from and to be able to direct them to the best specialists for more intensive care of critical ailments.
On a par with the general practitioner, the emergency medical doctor must be familiar with all the fields of medicine as well as trauma pathology. When seconds count in the treatment of accident injuries, the trauma doctor must be able to identify unrelated conditions that may require modifications in the emergency treatment a patient may require. It is because the student doctor needs to learn first-hand how many medical disciplines are interrelated that much of their residency time is spent aiding trauma doctors in emergency rooms.
The surgeon is required to have an intimate and comprehensive knowledge of the internal operation of the human body. This exacting field of medical practice is designed to physically fix a problem and repair damaged areas. Surgery requires even more study time than general medicine as it also requires knowledge of the interconnectivity of every body process that could be affected by physical intrusion into the flesh. While the anesthesiologist is the doctor that directly oversees the medication that relieves pain and keeps a patient alive during surgery, the surgeon must also be aware of the process and its affect on his patient.
Some doctors specialize in the creation of life and will dedicate themselves to learning the arts of obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics. These doctors make special study of how children are formed, how to help them come safely and healthily into the world and keep them well as they grow from infancy to maturity. They are specially trained to understand the diseases and ailments that can affect not only the mothers but obtain a full knowledge of diseases that directly attack the young.
Doctors of psychology and psychiatry specialize in the subtle but occasionally debilitating problems that occur in the mind of their patients. While the psychologist is trained more in how though processes can affect health, the psychiatrist must study body processes in relation to how chemical treatments work as their special field uses drugs and other physical treatments to affect a cure.
Once a doctor's general training is done, many continue on with training for specific parts of the body. An ophthalmologist for example, will learn all there is to know about the eyes and its specific characteristics and illnesses. A pathologist or radiologist will learn the techniques and machines used to investigate and identify the underlying sources of illness and sometimes even discover a medical problem before it has had the chance to cause major damage to an individual.
Whatever specialty a doctor works in, knowledge of the whole body is essential as the physical self is an integrated unit. No doctor stands alone in his field but relies on knowledge of all the varieties of medicine in order to give the best possible treatment to those in need.
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