Endocrinologists are doctors specializing in hormones, the organs that secrete them, and the effects of hormones in the body. Endocrinologists diagnose and treat hormone-related diseases and tumors that occur in hormone-producing organs. Endocrinologists are often specialists in the medical fields of internal medicine or pediatrics. The education an endocrinologist must possess is a premed bachelor's degree, medical school graduate degree, and then a residency or internship for 3 to 5 more years and then board-certified in internal medicine.
Endocrine organs secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Exocrine glands secrete hormones into ducts. Organs in the endocrine system are the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, testes, pancreas, hypothalamus, and parathyroid gland. Hormones can also be made by individual cells that affect neighboring cells or work within the cell itself.
Endocrinologists treat diabetes, which is in a category of diseases known as glucose homeostasis disorders (hypoglycemia also falls here). Other categories of endocrine-based disease are calcium homeostasis disorders (involving the parathyroid gland and osteoporosis), pituitary gland disorders (growth problems), sex hormone disorders (fertility problems), metabolic disorders, adrenal excesses and insufficiencies, and tumors of various glands.
Diagnosis of problems in hormone amounts is typically measured with blood tests. Most diseases that manifest in glands are chronic- meaning a person will have to be treated for the rest of their life for the disease. Fortunately, many endocrine disorders can be controlled by either giving the patient the hormone(s) their body fails to make or giving the patient an inhibitor of a hormone(s) that is being over-produced. Trial and error might be required for some time to establish the correct amount of hormone therapy that a patient needs to establish homeostasis.
Because diabetes is so prevalent currently, there is much research being done. New medicines and treatments are constantly available and endocrinologists need to be familiar with new options, but not so cavalier that they try treatments that have not been established as safe. Medication errors are the most commonly made provider error, whether the provider is an endocrinologist or a general physician. Medication errors can be in the form of the wrong medicine prescribed, the wrong dosage, contraindications were not checked, or drug interactions were not checked with current prescriptions. Other types of provider errors that an endocrinologist might make are misdiagnosis, failure to treat, surgical errors, misreading of lab tests, or failing to obtain informed consent before treatment.
If you believe you or a loved one experienced and worsening of a condition, an injury, or death at the hands of an endocrinologist, then call the Sweeney Law Firm so we can review the facts. You may have an endocrinology medical provider malpractice case. If we decide to accept your case, there will be no cost for representation unless there is a settlement or a recovery of funds for you.