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DOI: 10.5146/tjpath.2022.01569
Problems in Postmortem Pathology Training
Ali Rıza TÜMER1, Emirhan ESKİCİOĞLU1, Cenk SÖKMENSÜER2, Tuğçe FINDIKOĞLU1
1Department of Forensic Medicine, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, ANKARA, TURKEY
2Department of Pathology, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, ANKARA, TURKEY
Keywords: Forensic pathology, Forensic medicine, Medical residency

Objective: In Turkey, autopsy performers, namely forensic medicine practitioners, are neither pathologists nor have properly received pathology training during residency in contrast to the Anglo-Saxon model of forensic medicine practices, since the current curriculum of forensic medicine residency lacks adequate training in post-mortem histopathology. Likewise, pathologists lack a specific post-mortem pathology clerkship. In this study, we intended to determine whether forensic physicians in Turkey find themselves competent in post-mortem histopathology or were adequately trained during their residencies.

Material and Method: Turkish forensic medicine practitioners were administered an online questionnaire whereby self-evaluations of their histopathology knowledge and their views on histopathology training during forensic medicine residency were assessed. The 151 physicians who completed the questionnaire made up the study group.

Results: It was found out that the majority of Turkish forensic medicine practitioners (85.4%) did not find the histopathology training during their residency adequate. Similarly, 85.4% of the participants indicated their incompetence in histopathological examination of post-mortem tissue of any kind, and showed their willingness for further training in pathology. 66.9% strongly agreed that post-mortem histopathology requires training that is distinct from surgical pathology. In case of providing post-mortem histopathology training within the scope of forensic medicine residency, topics such as microscopic morphology of post-mortem changes, histological changes related to injuries, and estimation of wound age are expected to be beneficial to 88.7% 83.4%, and 83.4% of the participants respectively.

Conclusion: The current curriculum should be revised in a way that the surgical pathology clerkship meets forensic physicians’ needs, so that they can then refer more difficult, non-routine histopathological consultations to pathologists who are also well-trained in postmortem histopathology. Consideration should also be given to establishing a subspecialty training - a master’s or doctoral degree programs in forensic pathology.


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