- An individual to whom one refers for expert advice or services. The use of consultants is common in medicine. For example, a man with puzzling pains in the joints of the hands and feet may be referred to a rheumatologist who acts as a consultant to help illuminate the nature of the pain. For another example, a woman has a breast lump that is biopsied and the biopsy is read by the initial pathologist as suspicious but not definitely indicative of cancer. The biopsy material can be sent for a second opinion to another pathologist with special expertise in breast cancer; this pathologist serves as a consultant on the case.
* * *1. A physician or surgeon who does not take full responsibility for a patient, but acts in an advisory capacity, deliberating with and counseling the attending physician or surgeon. 2. A member of a hospital staff who has no active service but stands ready to advise in any case, at the request of the attending physician or surgeon. [L. consulto, pp. -atus, to deliberate, ask advice]
* * *con·sul·tant kən-'səlt-ənt n one (as a physician, surgeon, or psychologist) called in for professional advice or services
* * *n.a fully trained specialist in a branch of medicine who accepts total responsibility for patient care. In Britain consultants are usually responsible for the care of patients in hospital wards but they are allowed to opt for some sessions in private practice in addition to any National Health Service commitments. After registration, doctors continuing in hospital service are appointed as senior house officers and then obtain a specialist registrar post (which replaces the old registrar and senior registrar posts) in their chosen specialty. When a specialist registrar has successfully completed a defined college or faculty specialist training programme, he or she is awarded a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) and is eligible to apply for a consultant post. Doctors who do not complete full specialist training may work in hospitals in subconsultant grades with a variety of titles carrying increasing responsibility, such as clinical assistant, staff grade, and associate specialist. See also Doctor.
* * *con·sul·tant (kən-sulґtənt) [L. consultare to counsel] a physician called in for advice and counsel.
Medical dictionary. 2011.