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Anyone help elderly parent and GP referral to "PHYSICIAN";?

(27 Posts)
purplepeony Thu 05-Nov-09 14:55:30

I consider myself pretty clued up on medical stuff but this has foxed me...

my mum's GP suggests sending her to a "physician" to try to get to the bottom of her health issues , which GP can't fathom. (Post major op for stroke etc)

The appt has been put on hold for a while, but I have never heard the term physician, as to me it means a doctor- not a specialist- my mum thinks it means adr who has loads of specialisms- I think it means a general dogsboddy, one up from a GP. UNLESS he means a "physician for the elderly " ie specialist in geriatrics.

I live a long way from my mum so can't go along to the GP with her, but I think she is being fobbed off as she is 82.

anyone know what he means?

EccentricaGallumBANG Thu 05-Nov-09 15:02:15

I'd think a physician was a doctor rather than a surgeon. could be consultant gerontologist by why not then just say 'consultant' than using obscure confusing terms hardly anyone understands?

purplepeony Thu 05-Nov-09 15:05:11

I agree- GPs used to be called physicians in the Yellow Pages!

anyone else?

Point is, we could pay for a private appt so I'd want some say in who she saw- not just any old physician!

ImSoNotTelling Thu 05-Nov-09 15:14:49

My grand-dad was a consultant physician (apparently - was on the phone to my mum when I saw this and asked her). She says it's a doctor who does "general medicine" and treats people with drugs rather than surgery - so deals with things like pneumonia.

I guess think along the lines of House.

ImSoNotTelling Thu 05-Nov-09 15:15:50

ie not a crapppo doc but a pretty good one.

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Thu 05-Nov-09 15:22:25

Don't MD's refer to themselves as physicians?

ImSoNotTelling Thu 05-Nov-09 15:23:59

My mum also said that in america the term is used differently just to mean a doctor - MD is an american thing as well I think?

ImSoNotTelling Thu 05-Nov-09 15:26:03

MD is american thing

TotalChaos Thu 05-Nov-09 15:27:49

agree with I'mNotTelling - it's a particular type of consultant - my gran saw a consultant general physician after having septicaemia - as she had a mixture of bp/thyroid/lung and heart problems. so I wouldn't be too concerned about being fobbed off.

purplepeony Thu 05-Nov-09 17:13:38

okay thanks.

I assumed he would refer her to a cardiologist or neurologist as her history was a stroke.

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Thu 05-Nov-09 17:47:18

Mcdreamy Thu 05-Nov-09 17:51:56

A physician is a medical doctor as opposed to a surgeon.

purplepeony Thu 05-Nov-09 18:42:12

so why is a physician different from a good GP? Is this the GP being unable to decide where to send her, so he chooses an all rounder who is one rung up the ladder to him?

Clayhead Thu 05-Nov-09 18:51:13

I guess a member of the Royal College of Physicians rathan than Royal College of Surgeons or a GP so a hospital doctor who is a medic and not a surgeon.

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Thu 05-Nov-09 18:56:10

purplepeony most doctors are actually quite easy to find online, so if you know his name and department/hospital you may well be able to google him and find out what his specialty is. Having the phone number will help as it will help you confirm you have the right person.

That is assuming of course that he isn't called Dr. Smith or something.

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Thu 05-Nov-09 18:56:25

or she, of course.

ImSoNotTelling Thu 05-Nov-09 19:40:34

Physician would be hospital based and so have access to much more diagnostic equipment etc, and be more expert at diagnosing more complicated things I guess.

GP only has a certain amount of diagnosic tools at their disposal and so it would take ages to eg go for blood test, wait for results, see GP, go for ct scan, wait for results, see GP etc.

GP is used to "walking wounded" whereas hospital physician more expert at people with more advanced conditions?

I'm not sure why you seem so keen to believe that your doc is fobbing you off PP?

My grand-dad was a very well respected consultant and he was a physician, at one of the large teaching hospitals in London. I am sure it is a proper thing! grin

purplepeony Thu 05-Nov-09 20:14:24

sorry ISNT- didn't mean to offend anyone especially you- I am just used to being referred to consultants nad wondered what a physician was.

My mUm's symptoms are a bit of a muddle but as she has had ops and treatment for circulation etc I assumed she's see a heart guy etc.

ImSoNotTelling Thu 05-Nov-09 20:20:11

Not offended, the grin was genuine!

If her symptoms are a muddle that is probably why she's not seeing someone who is an expert in one area IYSWIM. People who are expert in one area usually tend to only see the things that they know about and may put something down to a heart thing when it's actually just as likely to be something to do with another bit IYSWIM. This person will probably be able to narrow down exactly what it is and then send her on to a specialist if necessary.

I'm sure they aren't messing her around. Are you going to go with her? You must be worried.

Mcdreamy Thu 05-Nov-09 22:39:43

In hospital the general doctors are divided into surgeons and physicians. Medical and Surgical. You have general surgeons, and general medics/physicians. Usually if you are referred to hospital with symptoms that could be a number of diagnosis you are referred to the general surgeons or physicians. So for example if you went in with abdominal pain you would go in under the general surgical team.

They would then do further tests and decide if it is something that they would deal with or if it needed to be dealt with someone in a more specialised field. Using my example of abdominal pain (I was a surgical nurse), if they decided you had appendicitis then they would deal with you but if they felt that your abdominal pain was to do with you uterus/tubes then they would pass you to a gynaecologist. It's the same principle with physicians. She will be assessed and will either remain under their care or if she needs it will be passed to a more specialised team.

Not sure if that helps but I think you have nothing to worry about.

Mcdreamy Thu 05-Nov-09 22:40:45

Nothing to worry about concerning your mum's referral to a physician I mean. I am sure you are worried about your mum and I hope she is ok smile

northender Thu 05-Nov-09 22:49:51

As has been said, he will be a consultant general physician, so she is being referred to a consultant not being fobbed off.

exexpat Thu 05-Nov-09 22:52:10

I think a physician is meant to be better at diagnosing complex cases than the average GP - think along the lines of House MD but a bit less dramatic? My father has had complex health issues for years and regularly sees the same consultant physician, who actually takes time to talk things through and connect all the different things going on. Definitely a positive move I would say.

purplepeony Fri 06-Nov-09 08:29:06

Thanks all

Yes, I am worried- she had a minor stroke a few years back and a big op to clean her carotoid artery out- now sh e is getting very weird spaced-out feelings, weakness while standing and waves of tiredness- but no headache, numbness or chest pain.

Yes, I will try to go with her if she gets an appt.

Mcdreamy Fri 06-Nov-09 09:17:05

Oh that is worrying but I guess the thinking behind the referral is it could be a number of things causing it. You may find you are referred onto a cardiologist or neurologist after some initial tests. Whatever happens though I think it's a great idea that you go with her. I really hope you get some answers and your mum feels better. smile

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