What is Pathology

What is pathology? What does a pathologist do? How to become a pathologist NPG Mission Membership Requirements

What is pathology

“….. as is your pathology so is your medicine” (Sir William Oslo 1849 – 1919)

Pathology is the study of disease.

It is the bridge between science and medicine. It underpins every aspect of patient care, from diagnostic testing and treatment advice to using cutting-edge genetic technologies and preventing disease. Doctors and scientists working in pathology are experts in illness and disease.

Appropriate pathology testing influences up to 70% of diagnoses and the consequent appropriate therapy for patients. Pathology contributes significantly to cost-effective patient care. The discipline is critical in the medical care of all patients. Not only in the active diagnosis of patients who are ill, but also for the diagnosis of conditions where no symptoms exist and the prophylactic care of these conditions.

Pathology has many sub-disciplines and the larger centralised core laboratories would have all of the disciplines represented.

The following are but a few examples:
  • Chemical Pathology
  • Microbiology, virology and serology
  • Immunology
  • Haematopathology
  • Histopahtology
  • Cytopathology
Some disciplines of pathology require specific interaction with every single specimen analysed.

Pathologists are ably assisted in the laboratory environment by medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory technicians who have undergone theoretical training at the various technikons, universities and practical training in a laboratory environment.

Laboratory services are available 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. Not all laboratories within a practice will offer these services, but the core central laboratories will function in this manner as well as many regional laboratories.

All emergency facilities in hospitals will offer pathology emergency services on a 24 hour 365 day basis.