Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialize in the digestive system, also known as the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. This includes the:
- Bile ducts
They diagnose and treat disorders and conditions that impact these organs, like:
- Celiac disease
- Crohn's disease
- Acid reflux
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Colon cancer
- Stomach cancer
Education and Licensing Requirements for Gastroenterologists
Gastroenterologists are doctors who have specialized in a particular part of the body, meaning they have gone through the same educational requirements that are in place for other doctors, plus additional training that allows them to claim a specialty. All gastroenterologists have:
- Attended and graduated college
- Gained entry into an accredited medical school
- Graduated with an M.D. or a D.O. degree
- Completed a residency in internal medicine, often lasting three years
- Completed an additional residency or fellowship in gastroenterology, often lasting another three years
Once all of these requirements are out of the way, gastroenterologists have to pass their state's board exam to be able to practice medicine. Gastroenterologists can then pursue two board certifications from the American Board of Internal Medicine – one in internal medicine and the other in gastroenterology – to claim their specialty in treating medical conditions affecting the GI tract.
How Gastroenterologists Practice Medicine in Philadelphia
Gastroenterologists typically work in office settings outside of the hospital, where they see patients who have been referred to them by their primary care physician. In this outpatient setting, gastroenterologists diagnose and treat digestive issues and disorders from heartburn and nausea to life-threatening or potentially terminal conditions like stomach and colon cancer.
How Gastroenterologists Can Commit Medical Malpractice
Because most of their work is done on the diagnostic level, most of the medical malpractice claims that gastroenterologists face center on a diagnosis.
If a gastroenterologist misdiagnosis a medical condition in the GI tract, it can mean the victim gets treatment for a condition they do not have, while the issue they actually suffer from gets worse and worse. Together, the repercussions of a misdiagnosis like this can be serious.
A delayed diagnosis is nearly as bad. While patients do not go through the same suffering of receiving the wrong medical treatment, they still deal with the uncertainty of not knowing what is wrong, all while their internal condition worsens.
In addition to a missed or delayed diagnosis, gastroenterologists can commit medical malpractice by:
- Not ordering necessary tests
- Misreading the results of those tests
- Failing to adequately communicate a course of treatment to a patient, leading to mistakes
- Not monitoring a patient's progress through their treatment regimen
- Making a correct diagnosis, but applying the wrong treatment
Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian Serve Philadelphia
If you or a loved one has seen a gastroenterologist in the Philadelphia area and have received medical care that is far below what should be expected of a specialist, you may have been the victim of medical malpractice. The lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Contact them online.