When a patient visits the physician with an illness, accident or condition that has been documented and well-researched, it is typical for him to receive what is known as standard treatment. What this generally means is that the patient will be treated in a way that has been known to produce results or has the potential to provide the most satisfactory outcome.
In medicine, while many treatments typically vary with each individual, as a general rule, standard treatment will apply to the same condition. While certain medications might have the same potential effect, the course of treatment will typically be one that has been tested for results, safety and accuracy. After a period of time, the treatment becomes acceptable and well-received by physicians and patients alike.
There are several ways to exemplify a procedure that is done using standard treatment. For instance, if an individual visits the emergency room with a gash that has caused heavy bleeding, standard treatment would involve implementing a way to control or stop the bleeding. This would typically be done by applying pressure to the site and, most likely, closing off the wound with sutures. That procedure would be standard treatment. In another example, standard treatment for a patient who has been hit with a softball and is complaining of pain in the ribs will typically include a set of x-rays taken to see if there are any fractures involved.
Conversely, experimental treatment, which most likely would have included a previous clinical trial, is understood by the patient to be a voluntary measure taken at his own risk. That is, if a patient wishes to try an experimental drug or treatment in favor of standard treatment, there is a possibility it has not yet been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Drug development or a new drug application plan are not typically included in standard practice, primarily due to a lack of knowledge on how a majority of patients might react.
Patients suffering from long-term illnesses or diseases generally have the option of which treatment plans to choose from. These might include conventional treatments or experimental options. Sometimes, unconventional treatments are sought after as a last result when other treatments have failed or not provided the desired outcome.