Understanding Pathology

Who are Pathologists?


Pathologists are medical doctors who have subsequently specialised for at least four years in pathology. Pathologists usually specialise in a particular field, for example, the study of blood diseases (a haematologist) or infectious diseases (a microbiologist). Pathologists study the causes of disease, how diseases affect your body and how they are diagnosed and treated. Pathologists typically work in and run laboratories but sometimes see patients directly as part of their work.


What happens in the Laboratory?


Depending on the test and how urgent the results are, your specimen may be tested in either a smaller hospital laboratory or sent to a larger, main laboratory. Tests on blood specimens are typically performed by medical technologists or medical scientists in a laboratory run and managed by pathologists. The examination of tissue specimens (a biopsy) is performed directly by a pathologist. Pathologists play an active role in the laboratory by guiding and assisting the testing of the specimen to ensure quality results.

Test Flow Chart

Before the specimen comes to the lab