A patient is rushed to the emergency room after fainting on the street. He regains consciousness and complains of severe stomach pain. Because there are many possible reasons for this pain, a pathologist must step in to help solve the mystery.
The pathologist will analyze the patient’s blood and look for abnormalities. If surgery is necessary, he or she will also examine tissue samples. The pathologist's tests and conclusions will help the medical team identify the cause of the patient’s pain. Once they’ve found the cause, they can begin treatment.
Pathologists are doctors who study the cause and development of disease. Most choose a specialty such as genetics or forensic pathology. Forensic pathology is the use of pathology for legal purposes, one of which is deciding cause of death.
Most pathologists help living people and study their diseases, not corpses.
A crack investigator and a good communicator. You’ll need to listen carefully as doctors and patients describe symptoms. Each patient presents a new set of variables. The ability to recognize the common threads among diseases makes a pathologist's advice and expertise particularly valuable.
Forensic pathology is only one of many specialties in this field. Others include pediatric pathology, chemical pathology, and molecular genetic pathology.