How a complex condition is diagnosed

Written by: Dr Michael Pelly
Edited by: Jay Staniland

If you go to see a doctor seeking a diagnosis for an unknown illness or condition, you are hoping to get a clear answer as to what condition you have, and what treatment you will need to cure it. However, this may not always be so easy, with different doctors giving different diagnoses and treatments, and the correct diagnosis can be lost in an array of specialist opinions. Expert consultant physician, Dr Michael Pelly explains why seeing a general internal medicine specialist when you have not been given a clear diagnosis and plan of action may be worthwhile.


What is a general internal medicine specialist?


Most doctors in the UK initially train in general internal medicine before going on to have a specialty interest in a particular area of expertise. A general internal medicine specialist keeps a wide clinical practice, enabling them to have a greater overview and make a clearer diagnosis. A specialist in general internal medicine will focus on the diagnosis of complex diseases, as well as the prevention and treatment of a wide spectrum of acute and chronic diseases.

Dr Michael Pelly sees patients of all ages, varying from adults experiencing post-travel illness, to patients (often elderly) with complex, and often multiple conditions and illnesses.


How does a general internal medicine specialist make a diagnosis?


In many cases, you may be referred to a general internal medicine specialist by your GP. Dr Michael Pelly has a great deal of experience treating a wide variety of conditions.

His approach to diagnosis is traditional and holistic. He begins by going through the patient’s history, such as when you first started experiencing symptoms, what are the circumstances when the symptoms arise, any medications you may be taking, any other conditions you may have, and any conditions that members of your family may have.

He will then give you a thorough examination, which will allow him to paint a whole picture of you and of the symptoms you are experiencing. His careful, comprehensive, and detailed approach allows him to make a more accurate diagnosis.

From the diagnosis he will devise a plan of action for treating, managing, or investigating the condition further, which he will discuss and agree with you, the patient. If you wish to make an appointment with Dr Pelly, you can do so by visiting his profile here.

By Dr Michael Pelly
Internal medicine

Dr Michael Pelly is a leading consultant physician. From his private practices in London, he specialises in general internal medicine, diagnostic dilemmas, post-travel related illnesses and stroke medicine.

Dr Pelly has gained experience in Africa and the Soviet Union, working with charities such as Save the Children and the Red Cross, alongside being part of the team to start the Merlin organisation (Medical Emergency Relief International), before returning to hospital medicine in London. He completed an MSc in tropical medicine before becoming a consultant at Chelsea and Westminster hospital.

Dr Pelly sees patients of all ages and has wide general expertise, covering general medical presentations of all ages (adult), post-travel related diseases, chronic disease management and all aspects of elderly patients, especially stroke medicine. Alongside his clinical practice, Dr Pelly is also dedicated to training and teaching young doctors, and has written a number of peer-reviewed articles for medical journals. 

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