Dr. Michael Mellman

Rabecca Pestle, M.M.Sc., PA-C

Common Questions and Topics:

 

What's an "Internist"?

Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.

At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults. Internists are sometimes referred to as the "doctor's doctor," because they are often called upon to act as consultants to other physicians to help solve puzzling diagnostic problems. Simply put, internists are Doctors of Internal Medicine. You may see them referred to by several terms, including "internists," "general internists" and "doctors of internal medicine." But don't mistake them with "interns," who are doctors in their first year of residency training.

Although internists may act as primary care physicians, they are not "family physicians," "family practitioners," or "general practitioners," whose training is not solely concentrated on adults and may include surgery, obstetrics and pediatrics.

 

Caring for the Whole Patient

Internists are equipped to deal with whatever problem a patient brings -- no matter how common or rare, or how simple or complex. They are specially trained to solve puzzling diagnostic problems and can handle severe chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time. They also bring to patients an understanding of wellness (disease prevention and the promotion of health), women's health, substance abuse, mental health, as well as effective treatment of common problems of the eyes, ears, skin, nervous system and reproductive organs.

 

Caring for You for Life

In today's complex medical environment, internists  take pride in caring for their patients for life -- in the office or clinic, during hospitalization and intensive care, and in nursing homes. When other medical specialists, such as surgeons or obstetricians, are involved, they coordinate their patient's care and manage difficult medical problems associated with that care.

 

What’s a Physician Assistant (PA)?

A PA is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.

PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers.

They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services. Physician Assistants or physician associates (PAs) typically obtain medical histories, perform examinations and procedures, order treatments, diagnose diseases, prescribe medication, order and interpret diagnostic tests, refer patients to specialists as required, and first or second-assist in surgery. They work in hospitals, clinics and other types of health facilities, or in academic administration, and exercise autonomy in medical decision making. PAs practice primary care or medical specialties, including emergency medicine, surgery, cardiology, etc. according to a legal scope of practice that may vary across jurisdictions. A period of extensive clinical training precedes obtaining a license to practice as a physician assistant, and similar to physician training but shorter in duration, includes all systems of the human body. Renewal of licenser is necessary every few years, varying by jurisdiction. Physician Assistants may also complete residency training, similar to physicians' residencies but significantly shorter, in fields such as: OB/GYN, emergency medicine, critical care, orthopedics, neurology, surgery, and other medical disciplines.

 

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