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Syn: superspecialist. A specialist in medicine or surgery whose field of expertise is confined within a narrow range, such as microsurgical repair of severed nerves or the use of flexible fiberscopes for endoscopic examination of the bronchial tree or the esophagus and stomach. The prefixes “sub” and “super” are often interchangeable, but superspecialists are sometimes regarded as exceptionally proficient at specific technical procedures, whereas subspecialists are those who have confined their work within a very narrow range but may not necessarily possess exceptional ability or skills. A problem arises when medical care is fragmented among narrowly specialized fields if patients and their families cannot identify who is ultimately responsible and accountable in the event of mishaps in care.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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