Thursday, 10 November 2011

What is General Internal Medicine?

Internal Medicine is one of the main specialties of medicine. These main specialties include surgery, ob-gyn and pediatrics. Many Sub-specialties derive from the General Internal Medicine. These subspecialties can be organ oriented like cardiology or nephrology; system oriented like immunology; age oriented like geriatric medicine or condition oriented like medicine of pregnancy. 

General Internal Medicine covers all aspects of the pathology of adolescents, adults and the elderly (it does not treat children). It is neither surgical nor invasive. It treats all genders without discrimination and covers every disease of every organ that is susceptible of medical (non-surgical) treatment, especially complex diseases of multiple organs with or without comorbidity.

The preferred level of attention of General Internal Medicine is curative or "secondary prevention", although internists have the knowledge and training for primary attention. 

Internal Medicine can treat the medical pathologies (non obstetric) of pregnant women and the medical complications associated with surgery and anesthesia.

Internal Medicine has a strong foundation in epidemiology and evidence based medicine, nevertheless its objective is not the attention of great populations but the patient himself, using the bio-psycho-social model.
Internal Medicine stays current in the knowledge of medical technology without abusing with this technology, because its foundation is the clinical practice. Therefore, it employs semiology and complements it with therapeutics.

General Internal Medicine integrates and serves as connection of its subspecialties. Like any other main specialty, it has given to its many branches room for their practice, development and existence as the volume of knowledge and therapeutic procedures grows. No one should ever see an Internist performing cardiac catheterism nor digestive endoscopy; these procedures are left to their respective subspecialties.
General Internal Medicine is more important in the present model of superspecialization that has been fueled by all the technological changes and growth of medical knowledge, so that patients do not become "collectors of specialists". In this model of medical superspecialization, the internists reivindicate the integralist and generalist spirit of internism, in correspondence with the tendencies towards the complex and complementary vision of life in all its manifestations. The goal of the Internist is to be able to prevent and solve more than 80% of a patient's medical problems, to understand all the angles of their patient's pathologies, and know the interactions of treatments for their different problems, harmonizing those treatments, taking the best thing from each one of the specialties and aiming towards the vision of the patient, that is not a sack of unconnected organs, but a complex being with soul, body, mind and family.

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