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WHO IS A PEDIATRICIAN?

Pediatricians are doctors who treat medical conditions affecting children and infants.

Pediatrics can be divided into 4 major specializations:


GENERAL PEDIATRICS

Pediatricians working in a hospital, treating children from birth to the age of 16 are general pediatrics.


NEONATOLOGY

Doctors with a prime focus of newly born babies are neonatologists. They usually work with the intensive care unit that looks after premature babies or those who have problems at birth.


PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY

Doctors who specialize in children with heart conditions and work on treating them are called pediatric cardiologists.


COMMUNITY PEDIATRICS

The doctors who are a part of a community and treat and look after children with social, behavioral, developmental problems or physical disabilities.


TRAINING PATHWAY

A medical student has to apply for pediatrics in their F2 year. The initial training years are inclusive of specific training periods dedicated to general pediatrics, neonatology, pediatric community.

Pediatric cardiology has a different pathway from the other.


HISTORY

Scholars such as Hippocrates, Soranus, Galen, Aristotle had realized that growing adults and children required different medical treatments. Pediatric traces can be discovered in Ancient India, where the doctors who treated children were called “kumara bhrtya” Ayurvedic texts such as Sushruta Samhita, Kashyapa Samhita, composed during 6th century BC contains various traces of pediatrics.

A manuscript dated in the second century AD, written by the Greek gynecologist and physician Soranus of Ephesus, handles neonatal pediatrics.

Nils Rosén von Rosenstein, a Swedish physician is considered to be the founder of modern pediatrics.

The first ever generally accepted pediatric hospital is Hospital Des Infants maladies, which was opened in 1802 in Paris.


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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADULT MEDICINE AND PEDIATRIC MEDICINE

The physical growing of a body and the mental simultaneous changes can be paralleled with the maturation changes. An infant’s or a neonate’s body is different from an adult body psychologically and physiologically.

Genetic variance, development of bones and tissues, congenital defects are of greater concern in children than in adults.

The pharmacokinetic properties of drugs that enter our body are impacted upon by pediatric physiology. The absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of the medicine works differently in a developed body and a developing body.


- ABSORPTION

Neonates have an increased stomach pH, due to less acid secretion. Naturally, their bodies have a more basic environment, which leads to greater absorption of drug, as compared to adult bodies.


- DISTRIBUTION

Pediatric patients have a larger volume of distribution of drugs In their bodies as compared to adults.


- METABOLISM

Metabolism depends on various factors such as oxidation, hydrolysis, methylation and acetylation. The phase 1 and phase 2 enzymes work differently on different bodies.


- ELIMINATION

Drug elimination primarily happens through kidneys and livers. The bigger size of the kidneys in young adults and infants allows them to have better renal clearance.


WHAT DOES A PEDIATRICIAN DO?

Recommends course of treatment.

A detailed diagnosis of infections, illnesses, or any other health problem.

A physical examination

A detailed report and information about your child’s health.

Answers absolutely any query related to the child’s development and growth.


PEDIATRIC SPECIALISTS:

Oncology: Treatment of childhood cancer

Neonatology: The treatment of premature babies.

Cardiology: Treatment of heart conditions in children

Allergy and immunology: treatment of food and environment allergies and immune system

Neurology: Treatment of brain and nervous system disorders in children.

Rehabilitative medicine: Physical therapy for children


WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A PEDIATRICIAN?

Building a good relationship with a pediatrician is crucial. Some people decide to consult a pediatrician even before the birth of the child. This can be helpful in various ways. The pediatrician can guide you through the birth of your child. They can attend to any medical problem faced before, during and after the birth. It can be very helpful for a mother to visit the pediatrician and share the medical history with them, so that that they have a good amount of knowledge; which will help them make a better diagnosis for the baby. A pediatrician can also assist during the birth of the child, so as to minimize any form of a complication. Finding a pediatrician can help one avoid any form of an unknown complication that might occur.

After the birth of the child, a pediatrician conducts regular check ups for the well being of the baby, especially if the child has any medical condition. Taking professional medical help in such a case is always highly advisable and can benefit the health of the child.

As children grow up, they experience various physical, emotional and hormonal changes. Once they hit puberty, they are introduced to various novelties of their bodies. In such a case, they sometimes prefer having a private conversation with their doctor. In this case, if you already have your own choice of a trusted pediatrician who is well aware of the family’s medical history, and knows the child, then the conversation between the two becomes easier.


HOW WILL YOUR PEDIATRICIAN ASSIST DURING THE DELIVERY OF THE BABY?

You can inform the hospital if you have your own pediatrician, whom you would like to call, during the delivery. After the birth of the baby, the first examination can either be done by the in house hospital pediatrician or your own selected pediatrician.

If the baby is premature, the first step will be to shift the baby to the Neonatal Intensive care unit. In this room, the baby is closely monitored and a record of his health is constantly updated.

Your pediatrician will be given the full record of the baby’s medical report and the pediatrician will provide treatment accordingly.

If the child needs a more specialized care, the pediatrician will coordinate with the hospital accordingly.