An infectious disease (ID) specialist is a doctor of internal medicine (or, in some cases, pediatrics) who is qualified as an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. After seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training, ID specialists complete two to three years of additional training in infectious diseases.

ID specialists have expertise in infections of the sinuses, heart, brain, lungs, urinary tract, bowel, bones and pelvic organs. Their extensive training focuses on all kinds of infections, including those caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Many ID physicians specialize in treating patients with infections due to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS.

Along with their specialized knowledge comes a particular insight into the use of antibiotics and their potential adverse effects. ID specialists also have additional training in immunology (how the body fights infection), epidemiology (how infections spread) and infection control.

Pulmonology is the sub-specialty of internal medicine concerned with diseases of the lungs and bronchial tubes, which often involves evaluation of the upper respiratory tract (nose, pharynx and throat) as well as the heart.

Pulmonologists must first complete seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training and become board certified in Internal Medicine. Then, for an additional two to three years, they study conditions specific to the respiratory system.

Gastroenterology is the sub-specialty of internal medicine concerned with disorders and conditions of the gastrointestinal (“GI”) tract, also called the digestive tract. More specifically, gastroenterologists are concerned with the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines (colon), pancreas and liver.

Gastroenterologists must first complete seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training and become board certified in Internal Medicine. Then, for an additional two to three years, they study conditions specific to the GI tract.

Critical care medicine encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of clinical problems representing the extreme of human disease. Critically ill patients require intensive care by a coordinated team. The critical care specialist (intensivist) may be the primary provider of care or a consultant. The intensivist needs to be competent not only in a broad range of conditions common among critically ill patients but also with the technological procedures and devices used in the intensive care setting. The care of critically ill patients raises many complicated ethical and social issues, and the intensivist must be competent in areas such as end-of-life decisions, advance directives, estimating prognosis, and counseling of patients and their families.

Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the least invasive treatments available coupled with diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-rays, MRI and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease non-surgically. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in the legs to treat peripheral arterial disease, interventional radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine.

Today many conditions that once required surgery can be treated nonsurgically by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery.

Trauma surgery is a surgical specialty involved in the invasive treatment of physical injuries, typically in an emergency setting. Trauma surgeons generally complete residency training in general surgery and often fellowship training in trauma or surgical critical care. The trauma surgeon is responsible for the initial resuscitation and stabilization of the patient, as well as ongoing evaluation. The attending trauma surgeon also leads the trauma team, which typically includes nurses, resident physicians, and support staff.

Trauma surgeons must be familiar with a large variety of general surgical, thoracic, and vascular procedures and must be able to make complex decisions, often with little time and incomplete information. Proficiency in all aspects of intensive care medicine/critical care is required. Hours are irregular and there is a considerable amount of night, weekend, and holiday work. Salaries for trauma surgeons are comparable to that of general surgeons.

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