Pathology for medical students

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This article is an introduction to pathology for medical students.


Describing injuries



  • Identifying medical examiner cases/coroner's cases.
  • Getting an autopsy consent.
    • Understanding the hierarchy and knowing it must be followed strictly.
    • Knowing the difference between executer of the estate and power of attorney for health care decisions (not valid after death).
  • Providing important clinical information.
    • Clinical history - past medical history.
    • Events leading-up to death.
    • Provisional/suspected cause of death.
  • Value of doing an autopsy.
  • Interpretation of autopsy reports.

Surgical pathology

  • Ordering biopsies and laboratory tests.
    • Infectious cases - role of culture.
  • Interpreting pathology reports.
  • Importance of providing clinical information.
    • Consultant for a specialist should have a reason for referral - pathology is not different.

Cancer diagnoses


  • Cancer.
    • Pathologic definitions of cancer.
  • Tumour.
    • Not necessarily cancer.
    • Locally aggressive tumours, e.g. desmoid tumour.
    • Benign tumours.


Implication of not otherwise specified:

Prognostic factors:


See also