Forensic pathologists are medical examiners who work in a sub-specialty of pathology that focuses on determining the cause of death by examining a corpse. These ‘public health specialists’ must conduct autopsies, examining the deceased, and they often directly collaborate with police, coroners, and criminal and civil courts in solving critical medical issues. While this is common practice for a daily routine, forensic pathologists have other responsibilities and research that they may find more important.
One of the biggest work duties for a pathologist is the obligation to meet with loved ones of the particular person they have been working on. Often, family and friends like to meet the person who had the last contact with their loved one. This can be extremely challenging and emotional for both involved parties. Moreover, pathologists have a responsibility to recognize patterns and trends in the causes of death and provide this information to a coroner to make recommendations that will prevent future deaths.
Believe it or not, pathologists are actively involved in diagnosing 70% of disease. However, several sub categories of pathology exist including chemical pathology, genetics, anatomical pathology, haematology, immunopathology, microbiology, and general pathology, which covers all specifics in this field. Watch as Associate Professor David Ranson from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine explains a day in the life of this incredible field.