What Is Medical Treatment?

Medical treatment is the process of diagnosing and treating illness, disease, or injury. The goal of the medical profession is to help people live longer, healthier lives. Medical treatment may include medications, surgery, physical therapy, and other healthcare options. A patient who seeks medical treatment must be informed of the risks and benefits involved in the procedure. Medical treatment also includes the process of evaluating and documenting a patient’s condition and response to treatment.

The medical specialty of obstetrics and gynecology is concerned with pregnancy and childbirth. The field of pediatrics deals with children and adolescents. Other specialties include internal medicine, a branch of clinical medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of adults; hospital medicine, which is care of the hospitalized patient; surgical subspecialties such as orthopedics, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, urology, and plastic surgery; pulmonary medicine; pulmonology, which is the study of lung diseases; allergy and asthma medicine; and pathology, the scientific discipline that studies the causes, processes, and effects of disease.

In addition to the practice of medicine, a physician must be knowledgeable about health promotion and disease prevention. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is considered the founder of modern medicine and his “Hippocratic Oath” is still in use today. Other famous physicians in history have included Galen and William Harvey.

A medical doctor must be able to recognize when a patient lacks capacity to make decisions. When this happens, the doctor must discuss the matter with other healthcare professionals and consider seeking legal advice with a view to having a court determine capacity. If a judge decides that a patient has no capacity to consent to or refuse medical treatment, the physician must follow state law in deciding whether to proceed with the life-sustaining measures.

Non-surgical medical procedures are used to diagnose, measure, monitor or treat problems such as diseases or injuries that do not require surgery. They are usually less invasive than surgery and often involve drugs rather than needles. Among the most commonly used are radiology, ultrasound, CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Other diagnostic tests that do not constitute medical treatment are HIV testing and counseling, blood-borne pathogens testing (for example, hepatitis B virus antibody), and the examination of an employee for signs of work-related exposure to bloodborne pathogens. The OSHA recordkeeping guidelines do not cover these tests.

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