Practice of Medicine Responses
When we mention medicine to the common patient, he thinks it is something he takes to improve or cure his condition. The average patient and human being doesn’t truly understand that medicine is a practice profession and many individuals including physicians, “practice it daily”. None of which implies that we are, perfect.
This doesn’t mean to imply that anyone “needs” to practice. It is meant to imply that we desire improvements in medicine and those improvements cannot be found without practice and an effort to find healing or cure.
Why do we wish to improve our techniques, our ways in which we treat disease and patients? The answer is simple. Pathology.
Pathology and a pathologist is defined, “the science of the causes and effects of diseases or
pathological features considered collectively; the typical behavior of a disease and a graduated specialist that opens an investigation into process, cells or disease that use specific scientific methods and testing to prove their findings and results” (3).
Pathology has many presenting features. The study of individual cells, then groups of cells, than an overall disease may take place on a systemic level. All of which require extensive knowledge of normal anatomy and physiology, and the in-depth study of body systems. Within each of those specific areas allows for many different and underlining but imperative and required allied health professions. All of which function as, “healthcare” but none can diagnose specifically without the use of pathology or a pathologist (3).
A medical examiner is a medical doctor/physician who examines a human body. They are usually one of the first to arrive at a death scene, or one who will testify upon the presentation of a crime scene and/or death of a person. Their position requires extensive medical knowledge, scene examination and collection of evidence and the signing of a death certificate. These individuals are physicians, or specifically trained individuals in the overall assessment of the human body, and the obvious scene causes for finding a body that is deceased. They often determine whether a person has died from natural or un-natural causes, identifying a deceased person, and announcing a time of death which requires extensive knowledge of post death processes, and appearance of the human body postmortem (1).
Both medical examiners and pathologists have multiple responsibilities. They do work together, but each hold a very significant and very different position. Pathologists may perform an autopsy; they may perform medical research in areas of pharmaceuticals, and they may study disease. The terms “medicine and pathology” are in collaboration and working order to understand at minimum normal, disease and death of the human cell, and human body which describes in detail both professions (1,3).
Each of these professions do come at times with personal cost and sacrifice. Many of these individuals suffer from depression (1) due to the nature of the profession. Many in these professions do feel a strong sense of social and moral responsibility. Many of these professionals live in the communities they serve as to increase the chances they may know the deceased or the family of the decreased individual.
Although there is a difference in the professions, they have a few commonalities. Both professions carry a moral and ethical responsibility to those they serve, the families and loved ones of the people they care for, and both careers come with an extensive and costly education which may add to additional stress on the job (1).
Healthcare consists of many individual professions that make an entire systemic process alike the human body. Each section has its own set of responsibilities and obligations to continue to function effectively which is the underlining mechanism behind both science and medicine.
When we consider that as human beings, we were given free will, we were also given the decision to uphold the healing ministry and within God’s creation, the capabilities to help others. Although many scientists at times wish to draw a distinction between medicine and science or the universe there are many things that science cannot explain. However, human beings were given specific areas of talent, and in those talents exists the human free will. We were each given a choice to use those capabilities for overall greater good. At times, those feelings of being called upon, and our profession can feel heavy. It is at those times when we must as for strength and support each other to understand the magnitude of these professions in all aspects of caring for others. Essentially, we cannot pour from an empty cup, nor does God want us to.
Give God your weakness, and he will lend you his strength (2).
“I will give you back your health and heal your wounds,” says the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17).
1. Brondolo, E., Eftekharzadeh, P., Clifton, C., Schwartz, J. E., & Delahanty, D. (2018). Work-related trauma, alienation, and posttraumatic and depressive symptoms in medical examiner employees.Psychological Trauma, 10(6), 689-697. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000323
2. Grice, J. (2022, January 14). 20 healing Bible verses – therapeutic scripture quotes. GodTube. Retrieved February 7, 2022, from https://www.godtube.com/news/20-healing-bible-verses-therapeutic-scripture-quotes.html
3. Sirri, R., Sarli, G., Bianco, C., Bonaldo, A., Gatta, P. P., Fontanillas, R., Vico, G. D., Carella, F., Brachelente, C., Parma, L., & Mandrioli, L. (2018). Retrospective study of pathology-based investigative techniques for the assessment of diet-induced changes in liver and intestine of flatfish.Italian Journal of Animal Science, 17(2), 518-529. https://doi.org/10.1080/1828051X.2017.1364610
Pathology and Medicine
How does the Field of Pathology relate to medicine?
Before discussing how the field of pathology correlates to the field of medicine. I will first discuss what each field focuses on and then form a connection as to how they work in tandem with one another. First, we with pathology, which is the subfield of medical science that specializes in the cause, development, structural changes, and history associated with diseases (Funkhouser, 2018). Diseases can be best described as changes that deviate from the standard phenotype, these changes can be seen today in the form of symptoms that can be seen by medical practitioners (Funkhouser, 2018). Medicine is the field of science focusing on maintaining good health and promoting healing. This field focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, medical research, and many other aspects of health. How do these fields correlate to one another? The focus of the medical field is to understand and decide what the best option for treating patients, however in order to come to this conclusion, they must first grasp an understanding of what is causing these patients their “problems” this is where pathology comes into play. When patients describe their symptoms, medical providers can then make educated decisions by using their observation, taking vital signs, ordering examinations that will further provide information that can aid the provider to make a reasonable decision on their next course of action. At its core, the healthcare profession is focused on healing patients and ensuring that these individuals can sustain their health. Pathology is the means by which these medical professionals can get to the root of the problem and understand what is causing these problems and decide what is the best approach for treatment and prevention.
What is the difference between a Medical examiner and a pathologist?
A medical examiner is a licensed medical practitioner that is charged with determining the investigation and examination of persons dying a sudden, unexpected, or violent death and with determining the cause and manner of the death (Mitchell et al, 2017). In order to determine the cause of death, these individuals may perform death investigations, complete autopsies, interpret toxicology and other laboratory testing results, collect and document evidence, and provide expert testimony (Mitchell et al, 2017). A pathologist is a medical professional who specializes in determining the cause, nature, and effects of the disease. They also examine tissues and bodily fluids in order to better determine the cause of an ailment afflicting a patient. Pathologists are not charged with determining the cause of death and performing autopsies, they are more focused on what is causing a certain individual their specific ailments and work with other health care providers to determine the best approach for their treatment. There are overlying responsibilities for each of these professions, they both perform similar tasks that provide them with information that can lead them to a specific conclusion. For example, both professions may order lab reports such as blood work, toxicology report, tissue examination in order to determine the cause of death or disease depending on the profession. Essentially the main difference between the two professions is one is trying to determine what leads to the death of an individual while the other is determining what is causing the problems for another individual.
1) Funkhouser W. K., Jr. (2018). Pathology: The Clinical Description of Human Disease. Molecular Pathology, 217–229. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-802761-5.00011-0
2) Mitchell, R. A., Jr, Diaz, F., Goldfogel, G. A., Fajardo, M., Fiore, S. E., Henson, T. V., Jorden, M. A., Kelly, S., Luzi, S., Quinn, M., & Wolf, D. A. (2017). National Association of Medical Examiners Position Paper: Recommendations for the Definition, Investigation, Postmortem Examination, and Reporting of Deaths in Custody. Academic forensic pathology, 7(4), 604–618. https://doi.org/10.23907/2017.051