Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with infant, children, and adolescent medical care. The age limit usually varies depending on location. In many countries, it is from birth until 18 years old. In the United States, it is until 21 years old. In other places, it is until the child completes secondary education.
The word ‘pediatrics’ translates to ‘healer of children’. It is derived from the Greek words ‘pais’ which means ‘child’ and ‘iatros’ which means healer or doctor. Pediatrics was developed in the mid-19th century, although there have been traces of pediatrics as early as the sixth century BC.
Nils Rosén von Rosenstein, a Swedish physician, is regarded as the founder of modern pediatrics. He wrote and published The Diseases Of Children, And Their Remedies in 1764. It was considered as the first modern textbook on pediatrics. Abraham Jacobi is regarded as the father of Pediatrics in the United States.
The Study of Pediatrics
Pediatrics is studied to reduce the death rate of infants and children as well as to control the spread of infectious diseases and promote healthy lifestyles in order for children to be disease-free and ease the problems of those who suffer from chronic conditions.
Pediatrics is not only concerned about the immediate management of the patient. It is also concerned about the long term effects on quality of life, survival, and disability.
The subspecialties involved in pediatrics include critical care medicine, pediatric cardiology, endocrinology, hematology, gastroenterology, nephrology, and neonatal medicine.
Pediatrics vs. Adult Medicine
The bodies of infants and children are physiologically different from the bodies of adults. Thus, their needs are different from those of an adult. Developmental issues, congenital defects, and genetic variance are of a bigger concern to pediatricians than physicians who treat adults. Moreover, there are certain legal issues involved in pediatrics. Since children are below legal age, they are not allowed to make decisions for themselves. In all pediatric procedures, the issues of privacy, guardianship, informed consent, and legal responsibility have to be considered.
What are Pediatricians?
Pediatricians are medical professionals that diagnose and treat conditions among infants and children, including infections, injuries, cancers, congenital and genetic conditions, and organ dysfunctions and diseases. They are involved with the early detection, management, and prevention of problems such as functional disabilities, behavioral problems, developmental disorders and delays, social stresses, and mental disorders such as anxiety disorders and depression. They work in hospitals as primary care physicians and in specialized subfields.
Because pediatrics is a collaborative specialty, pediatricians have to closely work with medical specialists, healthcare professionals, and pediatrics subspecialists in order to help infants and children with health problems.
A person has to graduate from medical school and complete three years of education in a pediatric residency program. During this time, he has to learn about the proper caring for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. After his residency, he becomes eligible for the American Board of Pediatrics board certification after passing a written examination. Every seven years, he has to obtain recertification
History of Pediatrics
Pediatrics is regarded as a new modern medicine. Galen, Soranus, Celsus, Aristotle, and Hippocrates all knew the differences in maturing and growing organisms that needed different treatment. The first pediatric hospital was found in the Great Ormond Street Hospital, which was located in the United Kingdom.
The earliest recorded history of pediatrics was found in Ancient India wherein kumara bhrtya were known as the doctors of children. A text that discusses pediatrics can be found in the Sushruta Samhita, which is an Ayurvedic text that was created in the 6th century BC.
The Greek gynecologist and physician Soranus of Ephesus wrote a manuscript on neonatal pediatrics in the 2nd century AD. Byzantine physicians Aëtius of Amida, Paulus Aegineta, Oribasius, and Alexander Trallianus also gave their contributions to the field. Islamic writers Haly Abbas, Averroes, and Avicenna also contributed their ideas.
Al-Razi, a Persian doctor and scholar, wrote a treatise on children’s diseases. Paolo Bagellardo, an Italian pediatrician, wrote the first book on pediatrics. Then, Bartholomäus Metlinger, Cornelius Roelans, and Heinrich von Louffenburg published their work on pediatrics respectively.