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Do you need a Family Doctor ? - May 2002

Do you really need a Family Doctor ?

All of us like to be healthy; but what exactly is health? “ Health” is not merely absence of disease, but also a state of complete physical, mental and social well being.

What is ‘Family medicine’ & who is a “ Family Doctor “?

Your ‘Family Doctor’ not only deals with patient’s presenting complaints like ‘fever’ but also evaluates his socio-economic and psychological background, past history, family history, personal history including drug allergy and addictions to tobacco, alcohol etc. Evaluating and treating the patient in this broadest perspective by the family doctor is the quint essence of family medicine. This is total health care, unlike surgery for appendicitis by a surgeon or a brain operation by a neurosurgeon. The family doctor is ‘jack of all trades’ and will make appropriate referrals to specialists only when needed. He will be able to tackle over 80 % of all medical problems of families under his care by himself in a satisfactory manner.

Health Insurance Vs. Family Doctor.

Health insurance usually does not cover domiciliary treatment. Hence patients tend to bypass the family doctor and straightaway consult a specialist. In the absence of essential and valuable inputs by the family doctor, patients may undergo unnecessary and expensive investigations. And complications and poor result or response following treatment or surgery by the specialist are likely.

Treatment or tests without Doctor’s advice.

Over the counter medications without a doctor’s prescription and laboratory investigations and health check-ups without complete examination and evaluation by the family doctor or any other doctor are unhealthy trends in recent times. Both these could be dangerous and counter productive.


Family Medicine Vs. Super Specialities.

The glamour of becoming a specialist and super specialist is attracting more and more young doctors. But unfortunately a patient is not in a position to select appropriate specialist when he falls sick. Often he needs a family doctor, who can handle his problem far better than several specialists. The family doctor is really a super specialist catering to all common needs of all family members. In fact he/she is the basic foundation or the backbone of the medical fraternity. That is why some universities and The National Board of Examinations have even started post graduate courses and degree in “Family Medicine”, which is equivalent to post graduate degrees like M.D. or M.S.

Do You Have A “ Family Doctor”?

If not, immediately look for one for your family’s welfare and good health.

Dr. N.Geetha, MBBS.

Senior Medical Officer,
Dr. U Mohan Rau Memorial Hospital.

(Dr.Geetha, who is already practicing ‘family medicine’ for over 30 years has now enrolled herself for a degree course in “Family Medicine”)


Updated on 01.05.2002.

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