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DOI: 10.5146/tjpath.2022.01569
Problems in Postmortem Pathology Training
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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