Al­ways ready for tough tests

MED­I­CAL CASE Pathol­o­gists con­duct lab­o­ra­tory tests to help doc­tors make a cor­rect di­ag­no­sis of an ill­ness and pre­scribe ef­fec­tive treat­ment for their pa­tients

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Rozelle Laha

Dr Su­vin Shetty, who did ex­tremely well in science sub­jects at school de­cided to do an MBBS af­ter Class 12. How­ever, un­like some of his batch­mates who went ahead to be­come physi­cians, Shetty wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. He wanted to hone his man­age­rial skills along with med­i­cal ex­per­tise.

“Pathol­ogy is one such stream in med­i­cal science that al­lows one to use man­age­rial skills. It in­volves co­or­di­nat­ing with the staff to help the lab­o­ra­tory func­tion in a has­sle-free man­ner,” says Shetty, who is cur­rently a full-time con­sul­tant pathol­o­gist at Dr L H Hi­ranan­dani Hospital, Mum­bai.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, pathol­ogy also al­lows me to use my knowl­edge of medicine to per­form lab­o­ra­tory tests to de­tect dis­eases and help physi­cians di­ag­nose a pa­tient more ef­fi­ciently,” he says.

Any treat­ment in­volves two steps. The first has to do with de­tect­ing a pos­si­ble cause of ill­ness and the sec­ond is treat­ment of the ill­ness. Af­ter the cause of the ill­ness has been de­tected, a pa­tient can be asked to go in for imag­ing or patho­log­i­cal tests. Whereas, imag­ing in­cludes MRI, CT scan, X-Ray and sonog­ra­phy, pathol­ogy in­volves test­ing of body flu­ids like blood, urine, stool and all tis­sues in the body.

“For any pathol­o­gist who is start­ing out, the job can be ex­tremely chal­leng­ing as work­ing in the in­dus­try is very dif­fer­ent from what one learns in med­i­cal school,” says Shetty. Ev­ery post­grad­u­ate stu­dent of pathol­ogy must work with a good hospital or lab­o­ra­tory for some time be­fore go­ing for a full-time job to be able to un­der­stand their job bet­ter, says Shetty.

Con­vinc­ing pa­tients with the re­port find­ings is a ma­jor chal­lenge.“Of­ten, pa­tients are not con­vinced with the out­come of the tests. We need to un­der­stand the mind­set of the pa­tient to be able to con­vince them with the find­ings,” says Dr Shetty.

Sev­eral health con­scious peo­ple visit a clinic for a rou­tine health check-up. Physi­cians too sug­gest ba­sic tests to pa­tients just to en­sure that they are phys­i­cally fit. But there are in­stances when ba­sic health check­ups re­veal ma­jor dis­eases. It is then that it be­comes ex­tremely chal­leng­ing for a pathol­o­gist to con­vince a pa­tient and make him or her un­der­stand and come to terms with the find­ings of the patho­log­i­cal re­port,” he says.

“A few months ago, a physi­cian had ad­vised a pa­tient to go in for a com­plete blood count test, as part of a rou­tine checkup. The white blood cells, when ex­am­ined un­der the mi­cro­scope, were not nor­mal. So, we took mul­ti­ple sam­ples from the pa­tient and per­formed sev­eral tests and dis­cov­ered that he was suf­fer­ing from leukemia,” says Dr Shetty.

Con­stant up­grad­ing of skills and do­main knowl­ege i s a must for ev­ery pathol­o­gist, he ad­vises.

Dr Su­vin Shetty, a full time con­sul­tant pathol­o­gist at Dr LH Hi­ranan­dani Hospital, Mum­bai, feels pathol­ogy is stream in med­i­cal science which al­lows him to use man­age­rial skill to en­sure his lab­o­ra­tory func­tions smoothly.

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