Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: physician | assistant | PAs

Should I Insist on Seeing Doc?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 09:20 AM

Question: My doctor is very busy and I usually end up seeing the physician’s assistant during my visits. But I’m wondering if I should insist on seeing the doctor. What do you think?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine under the direction of physicians and surgeons. They are formally trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment. There are now reports emerging that patients who have recently visited a clinic, doctor’s office, nursing home or hospital emergency room that physician assistants are growing in number and playing a greater role in health care. With the shortage of primary care physicians, PAs are formally trained to take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X rays, and make diagnoses. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting. They record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. This is of great value in rural clinics where a doctor is present for only one or two days each week. If your symptoms and conditions improve with treatment and are satisfied, senior PAs act as shadows to MDs. However, this might be all right for regular visits as opposed to serious life threatening conditions where you would require secondary or tertiary care.

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Should I insist on the seeing the doctor, instead of the physician's assistant, when I have a medical appointment?
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 09:20 AM
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