The name of the business and the physician/owner at its helm do not take two words lightly— family medicine. San Ramon Valley Family Medicine and the family physician, Dr. Leena Kamat, are providing primary care to all ages. The philosophy might be the family that stays healthy together stays together for a long time.
“I am comfortable seeing patients of all age ranges, from newborns to the elderly,” reports Dr. Kamat. “I enjoy seeing the entire family.”
Members of a family are usually related to other “by descent or marriage,” according to the dictionary, but there is also the human family. In both cases, they range from infancy to old age. Times have changed from the old town doctor who made house calls, ministering to three generations under one roof. Family medicine, however, remains as vibrant as ever and is still the front line of primary care and often the first to treat victims of accident or illness.
“The scope of family medicine encompasses all ages, both sexes, each organ system and every disease entity,” reports the American Board of Family Medicine.
It is indeed the first line of defense for those who take advantage of it. You may send your children to a pediatrician and you, the parent, make your appointments with an internist. Or everyone can make an appointment with his or her own specialist. There is a specialist for everything, so why bother with a family physician?
The main reason is that it is continuing and comprehensive for each individual and member of the family. This is primary and preventive, which often means early detection and saving or prolonging lives. Primary care is that which a patient receives upon first contact with a physician when it is not an emergency. It doesn’t have to be a family practitioner. It can be an internist, pediatrician or even a gynecologist, but a family physician who regularly schedules appointments would certainly be right there on the front line.
There tends to be confusion about the difference between an internist and a family practitioner. Only adults go to internists. Only kids, on the other hand, got to pediatricians. Both adults and kids go to practitioners licensed in family medicine and the training and education required makes them more versatile.
Here’s the explanation from the American College of Physicians (ACP):
“Family medicine trainees are also required to have at least six months of inpatient hospital experience and one month of adult critical care, and up to 2 months of care for children in the hospital or emergency settings.”
Then there are “additional requirements in obstetrics, including delivering babies or assisting in deliveries known as “newborn encounters,” and surgery, gynecology, geriatric care and even training in behavioral health issues.
Wellness education and disease prevention are also crowded into those three years of so-called basic training.
When it comes down to it, becoming a board-certified family practitioner is not for the faint at heart. It could certainly be described as survival of the fittest in the medical field, in terms of the breadth of knowledge and skills required, and that gives us all a better chance of surviving.