PULMONOLOGY, or Pulmonary Medicine, is a field of medicine dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract including the trachea, bronchial tree, and lungs. Pulmonary Medicine is a subspecialty of Internal Medicine. Pulmonologists must first complete a full residency in Internal Medicine before undertaking a fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine. Upon completion, and after passing a rigorous board examination, certain candidates will be eligible for Board Certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties with a subspecialty certificate in Pulmonary Medicine.
Pulmonary Medicine specialists practice in both hospitals and private practice settings. Some specialize in Intensive Care Medicine, Pediatric Pulmonology, or Sleep Medicine. All pulmonologists deal with diseases and conditions of the chest, most commonly pneumonia, asthma, and emphysema (COPD). Pulmonologists are also experts in the management of critically ill patients requiring endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. Consequently, ventilator management is a fundamental part of Pulmonary Medicine.
Litigation in Pulmonary Medicine is relatively uncommon. Allegations may include failure to diagnose various lung conditions as well as complications stemming from ventilator management. Pulmonologists also serve as causation experts when discussing the natural history of various pulmonary diseases.