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Home»Specialties»Pediatric Medicine

Pediatric Medicine

Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. The upper age limit of such patients ranges from age 12 to 18. A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a pediatrician. Pediatricians are called on to provide a variety of services to families, including diagnosing illness, prescribing treatment, counseling families, monitoring the growing child's physical, mental, and social development and advising adolescents on a range of emotional and social issues. Pediatricians may also participate in research, advocacy for social and legislative changes to benefit all children and in public education on issues like nutrition, injury and disease prevention and in providing guidelines for safe participation in athletics.

Differences between adult and pediatric medicine:

Pediatrics differs from adult medicine in many respects. The obvious body size differences are paralleled by maturational changes. The smaller body of an infant or neonate is physiologically different from that of an adult. Congenital defects, genetic variance, and developmental issues are of greater concern to paediatricians than they often are to adult physicians.

Treating a child is not like treating a miniature adult. A major difference between pediatrics and adult medicine is that children are minors and, in most jurisdictions, cannot make decisions for themselves. The issues of guardianship, privacy, legal responsibility and informed consent must always be considered in every pediatric procedure. In a sense, pediatricians often have to treat the parents and sometimes the family, rather than just the child. Adolescents are in their own legal class, having rights to their own health care decisions in certain circumstances.

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