PATHOLOGY is a medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis of disease through the examination of tissue specimens such as biopsies, surgical samples, and body fluids. Forensic Pathology deals with the conduction of autopsies to identify disease and trauma posthumously, and to determine the cause of death. Clinical Pathology focuses upon the laboratory analysis of body fluids and specimens, while Clinical Pathologists oversee and direct all aspects of laboratory testing both in hospitals and private labs. Many Pathologists also specialize in particular areas of Pathology such as Blood Banking & Transfusion Medicine, Cytopathology, Dermatopathology, Neuropathology, Hematologic Pathology, Chemical Pathology, Medical Microbiology, Molecular Genetic Pathology, and Pediatric Pathology. Within the field of Pathology, some experts specialize even further in areas such as Cardiac, Obstetric, and Gynecologic Pathology. Regardless of their area of expertise, all Pathologists with the highest level of standing are certified by the American Board of Pathology.
Pathologists are rarely defendants in medical negligence cases, though they are sometimes named when specimens are improperly interpreted or when other laboratory errors occur. More commonly, Pathologists serve as expert witnesses to educate the trier of fact on the complexities of disease, such as the natural progression of tissue death during the evolution of an acute myocardial infarction.