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Pathology Cartoon of the Day - Pathologist-Patient Interaction

Dr Sampurna Roy MD


A Pathologist who is keen to have direct interaction with patients:

"It is not a good idea to bite off more than you can chew."

Enlarged version of the interaction in the cartoon:

Clinicians: We are very happy to hear that you want to directly talk to the patients. You are Doctor of Doctors. We will send them all to you.

Pathologist: Thank you! I strongly feel all pathologists should explain reports to patients.

Patients:  I am a Mathematician, never heard of Gleason score. What does 3+3 mean?

Am I bald because of Alopecia Areata? Will my hair grow back?

Myxoinflammatory Fibroblastic Sarcoma- What does that mean? Am I dying?

Did I get glomus tumour because my cat bit my finger?

Please show us all the slides and explain all the findings. YES YES we want to see under the microscope now. PLEASE

Pathologist:  I am taking a vacation soon. I will finish reporting the pending cases before leaving. Please don't send me patients now. We can discuss the cases in clinicopathological meetings.

A pathologist should concentrate on the slides and report urgent cases within 24 hours. There should be constant interaction with the clinician who is treating the patient.

Any interaction with the patient should be in the presence of the clinician.

In private diagnostic laboratory, the report is usually delivered in the reception. The pathologist does not discuss details of a report with a patient.

Regulations of Laboratory Medicine vary according to Medical Council of each country. One important rule applies in every country - patient's life and privacy is of utmost importance.

All gross specimens, microscopic slides and special stains belong to the patients. Written permission from the patient should be taken to use recently reported cases for research, publication in journals, public demonstration like social media or personal blog posts.

Pathologists taking time off to travel, work on a web project, write a book or do research should make sure that someone equally qualified is taking responsibility to do the clinical work in his/her absence.

Doctors or pathologists spending time on social media like twitter or facebook has a definite well thought out plan. They are using it for self promotion, to sell books, or to promote personal blog posts with hashtags. Using social media for medical teaching (even if it sounds hilarious) is possible for those who enjoy multitasking.

Most smart doctors use smart phones but keep away from social media because they have far more exciting things happening in their professional and personal lives.



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Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)







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