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A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized staff and equipment. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, which has an emergency department. A district hospital typically is the major health care facility in its region, with large numbers of beds for intensive care and long-term care. Specialised hospitals include trauma centres, rehabilitation hospitals, children's hospitals, seniors' (geriatric) hospitals, and hospitals for dealing with specific medical needs such as psychiatric problems (see psychiatric hospital) and certain disease categories. Specialised hospitals can help reduce health care costs compared to general hospitals.
A teaching hospital combines assistance to people with teaching to medical students and nurses. The medical facility smaller than a hospital is generally called a clinic. Hospitals have a range of departments (e.g.: surgery and urgent care) and specialist units such as cardiology. Some hospitals have outpatient departments and some have chronic treatment units. Common support units include a pharmacy, pathology, and radiology.
Hospitals are usually funded by the public sector, by health organisations (for profit or nonprofit), by health insurance companies, or by charities, including direct charitable donations. Historically, hospitals were often founded and funded by religious orders or charitable individuals and leaders.
Today, hospitals are largely staffed by professional physicians, surgeons, and nurses, whereas in the past, this work was usually performed by the founding religious orders or by volunteers. However, there are various Catholic religious orders, such as the Alexians and the Bon Secours Sisters that still focus on hospital ministry today, as well as several other Christian denominations, including the Methodists and Lutherans, which run hospitals. In accordance with the original meaning of the word, hospitals were originally ,,places of hospitality", and this meaning is still preserved in the names of some institutions such as the Royal Hospital Chelsea, established in 1681 as a retirement and nursing home for veteran soldiers.
During the Middle Ages hospitals served different functions from modern institutions, as almshouses for the poor, hostels for pilgrims, or hospital schools. The word hospital comes from the Latin hospes, signifying a stranger or foreigner, hence a guest. Another noun derived from this, hospitium came to signify hospitality, that is the relation between guest and shelterer, hospitality, friendliness, and hospitable reception. By metonymy the Latin word then came to mean a guest-chamber, guest's lodging, an inn.
Hospes is thus the root for the English words host (where the p was dropped for convenience of pronunciation) hospitality, hospice, hostel and hotel. The latter modern word derives from Latin via the ancient French romance word hostel, which developed a silent s, which letter was eventually removed from the word, the loss of which is signified by a circumflex in the modern French word hôtel. The German word 'Spital' shares similar roots.
Grammar of the word differs slightly depending on the dialect. In the United States, hospital usually requires an article; in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, the word normally is used without an article when it is the object of a preposition and when referring to a patient (,,in/to the hospital" vs. ,,in/to hospital"); in Canada, both uses are found.
Some patients go to a hospital just for diagnosis, treatment, or therapy and then leave ('outpatients') without staying overnight; while others are 'admitted' and stay overnight or for several days or weeks or months ('inpatients'). Hospitals usually are distinguished from other types of medical facilities by their ability to admit and care for inpatients whilst the others often are described as clinics.
The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, which is set up to deal with many kinds of disease and injury, and normally has an emergency department to deal with immediate and urgent threats to health. Larger cities may have several hospitals of varying sizes and facilities. Some hospitals, especially in the United States and Canada, have their own ambulance service.
A district hospital typically is the major health care facility in its region, with large numbers of beds for intensive care and long-term care.
In California, ,,district hospital" refers specifically to a class of healthcare facility created shortly after World War II to address a shortage of hospital beds in many local communities. Even today, District hospitals are the sole public hospitals in 19 of California's counties, and are the sole locally-accessible hospital within 9 additional counties in which one or more other hospitals are present at substantial distance from a local community. Twenty-eight of California's rural hospitals and 20 of its critical-access hospitals are District hospitals.
California's District hospitals are formed by local municipalities, have Boards that are individually elected by their local communities, and exist to serve local needs. They are a particularly important provider of healthcare to uninsured patients and patients with Medi-Cal (which is California's Medicaid program, serving low-income persons, some senior citizens, persons with disabilities, children in foster care, and pregnant women). In 2012, District hospitals provided $54 million in uncompensated care in California.
A medical encyclopedia is a comprehensive written compendium that holds information about diseases, medical conditions, tests, symptoms, injuries, and surgeries. It may contain an extensive gallery of medicine-related photographs and illustrations. A medical encyclopedia provides information to readers about health questions. It may also contain some information about the history of diseases, the development of medical technology uses to detect diseases in its early phase. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
Four major elements define a medical encyclopaedia: its subject matter, its scope, its method of organization, and its method of production:
Encyclopaedias can be general, containing articles on topics in every field. A medical encyclopedia provides valuable health information, tools for managing your health, and support to those who seek information.
Works of encyclopedic scope aim to convey the important accumulated knowledge for their subject domain, such as an encyclopaedia of medicine.
The articles on subjects in a medical encyclopedia are usually accessed alphabetically by article name or for health topics.
As modern multimedia and the information age have evolved, they have had an ever-increasing effect on the collection, verification, summation, and presentation of information of all kinds. Medical encyclopedias such as Medline Plus, WebMD, and the Merck Manual are examples of new forms of the medical encyclopedias as information retrieval becomes simpler. Some online encyclopedias are medical wikis, which use wiki software to write the information collaboratively.
MedlinePlus is a free Web site that provides consumer health information for patients, families, and health care providers. MedlinePlus brings together quality information from the United States National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), other U.S. government agencies, and health-related organizations. The U.S. National Library of Medicine produces and maintains MedlinePlus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services based in the Metro Atlanta area, adjacent to the campus of Emory University and northeast of downtown Atlanta. It works to protect public health and safety by providing information to enhance health decisions, and it promotes health through partnerships with state health departments and other organizations. The CDC focuses national attention on developing and applying disease prevention and control (especially infectious diseases), environmental health, occupational safety and health, health promotion, prevention and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
WebMD Health, LLC (NASDAQ: WBMD) is an American provider of health information services. It is primarily known for its public Internet site, which has information regarding health and health care, including a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, blogs of physicians with specific topics and a place to store personal medical information. The site was reported to have received over 17.1 million average monthly unique visitors in Q1 2007 and is the leading health portal in the United States. The site receives information from accredited individuals[citation needed] and is reviewed by a medical review board consisting of four physicians to ensure accuracy.
WebMD also offers services to physicians and private clients. For example, they publish WebMD the Magazine, a patient-directed publication distributed bimonthly to 85 percent of physician waiting rooms. Medscape is a professional portal for physicians with 30 medical specialty areas and over 30 physician discussion boards. Recently WebMD has been acquired by the News Corporation.
MedicineNet, Inc. is owned and Operated by WebMD and part of the WebMD Network emphasizing non-technical, in-depth medical peer-reviewed information for consumers. Founded in 1996, WebMD acquired MedicineNet in 2004. MedicineNet, Inc.'s main office is in San Clemente, Calif., and the corporate office is in New York City.
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