Family physician is the first one to detect your liver disease. He/she will refer to specialists like Gastroenterologist or an infectious disease specialist or a hepatologist. There are different kinds of doctors, who focus on liver disease, so this seems a bit confusing.
Types of doctors
Doctors under level-1 have completed 4 years medical school training and 1-year internship. For practising medicine legally, level-1 doctors need to pass state license exam. Two kinds of level-1 doctors are –
MD or DO needs to complete 3 years for residential training and ass special board certification exam.
When an internist plans to get specialised in a specific medicine field that includes 2 to 3 years of residency then they obtain a fellowship. Doctors completing their fellowship in hepatology, infectious disease or gastroenterology are engaged in helping with liver disease treatment.
What to consider in a liver specialist?
Just because the sign board on the door says digestive and liver disease consultants, you must not assume that their practice concentrates on treating liver issues. You will need to ask certain questions because the doctors experience may be showing 5 years, but you don’t know how many patients has he treated with liver disease.
Do you hold a liver fellowship?
The doctor may be a Gastroenterologist. It means basic training related to liver disease. He may also possess liver disease specialty training. Doctors don’t hang their diplomas, on the wall.
How much percentage of practice is dedicated to liver disease? How many patients suffering from liver issues are you currently treating?
Some of the doctor’s practice appear large and popular but may be treating a few with liver issues. There may be a few, whose practice is comparatively small but may primarily be dedicated for liver disease treatment.
Are there any alternatives therapies?
The doctor needs to know the most recognized alternative therapies related to liver issues. Extensive evaluation regarding the alternative therapy is a MUST before assessing its effectiveness. He may not agree on the usage of alternative treatment, but need to discuss their advantages and disadvantages with his patients.
Are you committed to liver disease research?
Many doctors are interested in research part as well. They may be conducting experimental trials related with liver disease. It means he possesses knowledge about the most updated therapies and thus the patient can gain the latest form of treatment, before it goes public.