An introduction to the specialty of Internal Medicine from the University of Maryland School of Medicine website linked in my June 15 post on the subject has this description: (italics mine) “But the internist always remains the physician (or the diagnostician as internists were called in former times) whose special competence is solving difficult diagnostic problems and personally applying, or obtaining from a colleague, the best treatment available.” It also contains this statement: “Internists have always required special training to acquire their knowledge and skills and have continuously shown a particular interest in the scientific basis of clinical work.”
DB expanded on this view when he described what attracted him to Internal Medicine: (italics mine) “I am driven by both the intellectual challenge and the interpersonal relationships in medicine. I enjoy puzzle solving and relating to individual patients.” Also this: “Internal medicine deals with the most complex patients and most complex situations. Internists handle complex comprehensive care.”
Internal Medicine is thus distinguished by a unique emphasis on scientific underpinnings of medicine and the handling of complex problems. What is the popular notion of Internal Medicine? In search of something “official” I checked the American College of Physicians webpage and was disappointed. They characterize internists merely as "doctors for adults" and elaborate by listing what internists don’t do, such as deliver babies and treat kids. That’s it. For a description of a specialty this definition contains nothing special! The American College of Physicians has thus succeeded in defining Internal Medicine as nothing more than a subdivision of Family Practice, further contributing to Internal Medicine’s identity crisis.