What if pathologists didn't exist?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

What if pathologists didn't exist?

Most of the world has no idea what pathologists do, short of the forensic ones who appear on T.V. in crime-related shows. Even many of our clinician colleagues don't fully understand what is involved in our work. Medical charts are typically full of verbiage indicating that, "the specimen was sent to pathology and the diagnosis came back..." as if this all happens magically in a "black box." Tissue is inserted into a machine and the diagnosis comes out the other end. Well... maybe one day but not in my (or your) lifetimes.

One of our former residents tipped me off to the link below from the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA). If you've never attended one of their meetings and are looking for a good reason to visit the land down under, I strongly recommend it. The RCPA decided to have a little fun with the concept of what medicine would be like without a pathologic underpinning.

The site begins with the following message:

"If Pathologists didn't exist where would the answers come from? Pathology is the study of the nature and causes of diseases. It underpins every aspect of medicine, from diagnosis to monitoring, and is vital for research. Without pathologists, any answers found would be questionable to say the least. Every medical test, a case of trial and error. Exactly the kind of words you don't want to hear when it comes to your health. Watch the videos and see for yourself."

What follows then is series of short, very well done and admittedly quite silly videos with the serious premise that without pathologists clinicians would be absolutely clueless about diagnosing disease. Much like tribal "witch doctors" they might be relegated to devising and using all sorts of impractical, irreproducible, and completely non-functional schemes to aid in diagnosis. If you need a good laugh check this out. Afterwards think about what this says about our pivotal role in medicine. If you have non-medical friends who want to know if you're a "real doctor," and they have a good sense of humor, pass this link on to them!

Posted by Stacey E. Mills, MD at 2:34 PM

Fuente: Pⁿ Blog

The Pⁿ Blog is a forum for opinions, questions, controversies, and instructive discussions across the field of pathology and its relevant subspecialties.