What Is Medical Treatment?

medical treatment

Medical treatment is care and therapy to help manage, lessen or cure illness or injury. It includes medicine, surgery and other approaches, but it also can include non-medical treatments like massage or acupuncture. It’s important to know that a “treatment” is different from a “cure.” A treatment can make a health problem go away and stop coming back, but a cure makes the disease or injury disappear completely and permanently.

Medical treatment can be provided in hospitals, clinics and private practice offices. It can also be given in schools, churches and community organizations. It’s not unusual for people to seek medical treatment from more than one source, or to move between levels of care.

A physician who treats patients must be fully informed about the benefits and risks of their proposed therapies. This is called “informed consent.” In some cases, a physician must also disclose potential hazards of not seeking treatment, for example, the risk that precancerous cells will not be detected and will develop into cancer if a woman refuses a pap smear.

Doctors must consider how much information to give to patients and how best to communicate that information. This is because patients vary in how they absorb and understand medical information. A patient’s age, race, gender and other factors may affect how they respond to a treatment.

The level of care a patient receives depends on the severity of their condition. Hospitalization is the highest level of care, but many illnesses and injuries are not life-threatening and can be treated in ambulatory (outpatient) care centers.

Other levels of care are emergency, intensive and critical care. The former handles medical emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke. The latter focuses on very sick or injured patients and requires close monitoring, skill and knowledge of how to treat patients quickly. In some cases, such as with a severe burn, amputation or a gunshot wound, the patient may require treatment in an operating room.

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