What is pediatrics?
It is the medical specialty dedicated to monitoring the health of children and adolescents. It should be noted that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is the state of full physical, mental and social well-being.
Up to what age does pediatrics treat?
Branch of medicine that treats individuals from birth to the age of 18 (babies, newborns, children and adolescents).
Origin of the word pediatrics
From the Greek country, paidós, «child» + iatreía, «medicine»
Evolution of pediatrics
In the past, pediatrics did not exist as a medical discipline, as children's health was the responsibility of their mothers and midwives / obstetricians. From the Renaissance onwards, children's diseases began to be considered a medical specialty and, more recently, in the 19th century, pediatrics became a scientific branch. Pediatrics is a relatively new medical specialty, having taken its first steps only in the mid-19th century. Abraham Jacobi (1830-1919) is considered the father of pediatrics.
France and Germany were the first countries to develop modern pediatric knowledge and services. Children's hospitals were quick to reproduce in Europe and the United States, before spreading to other regions of the world.
What does the pediatrician do?
As a definition, the pediatrician is the doctor of a child who provides medical care, in acute or chronic situations, but also preventive health services for healthy children.
A pediatrician controls the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of children under his care at each stage of evolution, in illness and in health. Areas of development and behavior are covered.
Targets of pediatrics
- reduce the infant mortality rate,
- control the spread of infectious diseases,
- promote healthy lifestyles for a long and healthy life and help with the problems of children and adolescents with chronic circumstances.
Pediatricians diagnose and treat various conditions of the child, including:
- genetic and congenital circumstances
- cancers / neoplasms
- organ diseases and deficiencies
Pediatrics is dedicated to the sick child, with its long-term effects on quality of life, disability and survival (health education / promoting healthy lifestyles). Pediatricians are involved with prevention, timely detection, and management of problems including:
- developmental delays and disorders
- behavioral problems
- functional disabilities
- social efforts
- mental disorders including depression and anxiety disorders
There are several specialties within pediatrics, such as pediatric dentistry (oral health). Hebrew medicine, for example, is the branch specialized in adolescent diseases and in different psychological (anxiety and the like) and social disorders that can affect health during puberty.
Collaboration with other experts
Pediatrics is a specialty that works in conjunction with other medical specialists and healthcare professionals and pediatric specialists to help children with problems.
How does pediatrics differ from adult medicine?
Differences in body size are directly proportional to changes in maturation. The smallest body size of an infant or newborn is, physiologically, substantially different from that of an adult. Pediatrics focuses a lot on birth defects, genetic variation and development issues, which are more relevant to treat in children than in an adult. A common saying is that children are not simply "little adults". The clinician should consider the immature physiology of the baby or child when analyzing the symptoms, prescribing medications, and diagnosing diseases.
The main difference between the practice of pediatric and adult medicine is that children, in most jurisdictions and with some exceptions, cannot make decisions for themselves. The issues of guardianship, privacy, legal responsibility and informed consent must always be considered in each pediatric procedure. Pediatricians often have to treat parents and sometimes the family, and not just the child. Adolescents already have rights to their health decisions in certain circumstances. The concept of legal consent combined with the child's non-legal consent (favorable opinion) when considering treatment options, especially in the face of conditions with poor prognosis or complicated and painful procedures / surgery. The significance of this is that the pediatrician must consider the opinions of others, in addition to the patient's opinion.
The pediatrician is trained with the medical course first. Then they do specialization.
Subspecialties in pediatrics
- pediatric cardiology
- critical care medicine
- neonatal medicine / neonatology
- nephrology etc.