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Department of Pathology & Forensic Medicine

Pathology is the science of the causes and effects of diseases, especially the branch of medicine that deals with the laboratory examination of samples of body tissue for diagnostic or forensic purposes. It is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury. The word pathology also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of bioscience research fields and medical practices. However, when used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in a more narrow fashion to refer to processes and tests which fall within the contemporary medical field of "general pathology," an area which includes a number of distinct but inter-related medical specialties that diagnose disease, mostly through analysis of tissue, cell, and body fluid samples. Idiomatically, "a pathology" may also refer to the predicted or actual progression of particular diseases (as in the statement "the many different forms of cancer have diverse pathologies"), and the affix path is sometimes used to indicate a state of disease in cases of both physical ailment (as in cardiomyopathy) and psychological conditions (such as psychopathy). A physician practicing pathology is called a pathologist.

As a field of general inquiry and research, pathology addresses four components of disease: cause, mechanisms of development (pathogenesis), structural alterations of cells (morphologic changes), and the consequences of changes (clinical manifestations). In common medical practice, general pathology is mostly concerned with analyzing known clinical abnormalities that are markers or precursors for both infectious and non-infectious disease and is conducted by experts in one of two major specialties, anatomical pathology and clinical pathology. Further divisions in specialty exist on the basis of the involved sample types (comparing, for example, cytopathology, hematopathology, and histopathology), organs (as in renal pathology), and physiological systems (oral pathology), as well as on the basis of the focus of the examination (as with forensic pathology). Pathology is a significant field in modern medical diagnosis and medical research.

Forensic Medicine, which includes forensic pathology, is a narrower field that involves collection and analysis of medical evidence (samples) to produce objective information for use in the legal system. Medical jurisprudence or legal medicine as it is otherwise called is the branch of science and medicine involving the study and application of scientific and medical knowledge to legal problems, such as inquests, and in the field of law. As modern medicine is a legal creation, regulated by the state, and medicolegal cases involving death, rape, paternity, etc. require a medical practitioner to produce evidence and appear as an expert witness, these two fields have traditionally been interdependent.

The following secondary specialties of clinical pathology are recognized:

1. Blood Banking / Transfusion Medicine:

A Pathologist who specializes in Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine is responsible for the maintenance of an adequate blood supply, blood donor and patient-recipient safety, and appropriate blood utilization. Pre-transfusion compatibility testing and antibody testing assure that blood transfusions, when indicated, are as safe as possible. This specialist directs the preparation and safe use of specially prepared blood components, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma constituents, and marrow or stem cells for transplantation.

2. Clinical Informatics:

Physicians who practice Clinical Informatics collaborate with other health care and information technology professionals to analyze, design, implement and evaluate information and communication systems that enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve patient care and strengthen the clinician–patient relationship. Clinical Informaticians use their knowledge of patient care combined with their understanding of informatics concepts, methods and tools to: asses information and knowledge needs of health care professionals and patients; characterize, evaluate and refine clinical processes; develop, implement and refine clinical decision support systems; and lead or participate in the procurement, customization, development, implementation, management, evaluation and continuous improvement of clinical information system.

3. Cytopathology:

A Cytopathologist is an Anatomic Pathologist trained in the diagnosis of human disease by means of the study of cells obtained from body secretions and fluids; by scraping, washing, or sponging the surface of a lesion; or by the aspiration of a tumor mass or body organ with a fine needle. A major aspect of a Cytopathologist’s practice is the interpretation of Papanicolaou-stained smears of cells from the female reproductive systems (the “Pap” test). However, the Cytopathologist’s expertise is applied to the diagnosis of cells from all systems and areas of the body and in consultation to all medical specialists.

4. Dermatopathology:

A Dermatopathologist is expert in diagnosing and monitoring diseases of the skin, including infectious, immunologic, degenerative and neoplastic diseases. This entails the examination and interpretation of specially prepared tissue sections, cellular scrapings and smears of skin lesions by means of light microscopy, electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy.

5. Hematopathology:

A Hematopathologist is expert in diseases that affect blood cells, blood clotting mechanisms, bone marrow and lymph nodes. This specialist has the knowledge and technical skills essential for the laboratory diagnosis of anemias, leukemias, lymphomas, bleeding disorders and blood clotting disorders.

6. Neuropathology

A Neuropathologist is expert in the diagnosis of diseases of the nervous system and skeletal muscles and functions as a consultant primarily to Neurologists and Neurosurgeons. This specialist is knowledgeable in the infirmities of humans as they affect the nervous and neuromuscular systems, be they degenerative, infectious, metabolic, immunologic, neoplastic, vascular or physical in nature.

7. Pathology – Chemical

A Chemical Pathologist has expertise in the biochemistry of the human body as it applies to the understanding of the cause and progress of disease. This specialist functions as a clinical consultant in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Chemical Pathology entails the application of biochemical data to the detection, confirmation or monitoring of disease.

8. Pathology – Forensic:

A Forensic Pathologist is an expert in investigating and evaluating cases of sudden, unexpected, suspicious and violent death as well as other specific classes of death defined by law. The Forensic Pathologist serves the public as coroner or medical examiner, or by performing medicolegal autopsies for such officials.

9. Pathology – Medical Microbiology:

A Medical Microbiologist is expert in the isolation and identification of microbial agents that causes infectious disease. Viruses, bacteria and fungi, as well as parasites are identified and, where possible, tested for susceptibility to appropriate antimicrobial agents.

10. Pathology – Molecular Genetic:

A Molecular Genetic Pathologist is expert in the principles, theory, and technologies of molecular biology and molecular genetics. This expertise is used to make or confirm diagnoses of Mendelian genetic disorders, disorders of human development, infectious diseases and malignancies and to assess the natural history of those disorders. The Molecular Genetic Pathologist provides information about gene structure, function and alteration and applies laboratory techniques for diagnosis, treatment and prognosis for individuals with related disorders.

11. Pathology – Pediatric:

A Pediatric Pathologist is expert in the laboratory diagnosis of diseases that occur during fetal growth, infancy and child development. The practice requires a strong foundation in general pathology and substantial understanding of normal growth and development, along with extensive knowledge of pediatric medicine.

Word from Head of the Department:

Welcome to the Department of Pathology & Forensic Medicine at IMTU! Pathology is concerned with the diagnosis of diseases. The discipline provides basic education for medical students (general and systematic pathology as well as forensic medicine). Clinical pathology is a medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis of disease based on the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue homogenates or extracts using the tools of chemistry, microbiology, hematology and molecular pathology. Clinical pathologists often direct all of the special divisions of the laboratory, which may include the blood bank, clinical chemistry and biology, toxicology, hematology, immunology and serology, and microbiology. Clinical pathology also involves maintenance of laboratory information systems, research, and quality control. “The practice of pathology is most often conducted in community hospitals or in academic medical centers, where patient care, diagnostic services, and research go hand in hand. Creation of new knowledge is the lifeblood of pathology and many academic pathologists devote significant time in their career to research.”

Tools of clinical pathology include macroscopic examination, microscopes, microscopical examination, analyzers, centrifuges and cultures.

Forensic pathology is a sub-specialty of pathology, and is concerned with the application of pathological principles to the investigation of the medico-legal aspects of death. It directs its efforts to the examination of living or dead persons in order to provide an opinion concerning the cause, mechanism, and manner of disease, injury or death; the identification of persons; the significance of biological and physical evidence; the correlation and/or reconstruction of wounds, wound patterns, and sequences; and conducting comprehensive medicolegal death investigations. Forensic pathologists are medically qualified doctors who perform autopsies (postmortem examinations) on those who have died suddenly, unexpectedly, or as a result of trauma or poisoning. Forensic or legal medicine has been described as a key to the past, the explanation of the present and to some extent a signpost to the future.

The department offers courses for MBBS, BSc MLT and BSc Nursing students as well as MMed students. Our faculty provides instruction in the Basic Science Fundamentals curriculum that includes Histology, Gross Anatomical pathology, Basic Pathology, Neuropathology, and Organ System Pathology in the Pathology course. Forensic Medicine and Ethics & Professionalism courses are also taught for MBBS students is separately taught in different semesters. General pathology and Cytopathology courses are taught for BSc MLT students.

Vision & Mission:
  • Vision : To bridge basic and clinical sciences in the study, teaching and diagnosis of disease.
  • Mission :
  1. To be a national leader in innovative pathology education, research and clinical service.
  2. To establish a gross pathology museum and a state of the art histopathology laboratory and services for patients at IMTU hospital.
Core Values:
Our department strives to
  • Provide the highest quality diagnostic laboratory services, ensure patient and provider satisfaction and optimal patient care.
  • Fulfill the educational and professional needs of our students, faculty and staff.
  • Work in harmony, support one another and promote trust, intellectual stimulation, creativity, innovation and productive research.
  • Collaborate with and support the needs of other departments.