Forensic Pathology

The career that I researched was forensic pathology. The job of a pathologist is to determine a persons cause of death by examining tissues and fluids from the body. A forensic pathologist does this as well, but they are trained to examine people who died unexpectedly or violently and to recognize other things that a regular pathologist might not, such as recognizing something as intentional rather than accidental. They have to determine who the person is, the time of death, the manner of death, and if it was accidental, the instruments which caused the death.

To get an idea about the patient, the forensic pathologist would first get some information about the persons past, including their medical history. By having this information, they would know to check if the persons death was related to a drug overdose, or if unusual chemicals in the body were caused by medications the person was taking and they were related to the cause of death. They would perform an autopsy, looking for things such as toxins in the body, broken skin, evidence of sexual assault, etc., and record their findings and their determined cause of death. Also, as forensic pathologists are trained to interpret methods of injury, they will examine living individuals in cases of suspected rape/sexual assault or child abuse, determining whether the pattern of injuries is consistent with accidental or intentional injuries, usually for law-enforcement purposes only.

In the process of becoming a forensic pathologist, they first went to college for four years to get a bachelors degree. After that, they spend four more years in medical school to earn either an M.D. or D.O. degree. Once they have done this, they could either spend four years training in anatomic pathology and then train for one more year in forensic pathology, or spend five years training in anatomic and clinical pathology followed by one year of residency or fellowship in forensic pathology. Then, to become certified, they must pass an exam given by the American Board of Pathology, which certifies competence in forensic pathology.

There are a lot of regions of the nation that need forensic pathologists. They are employed by states, counties, cities, medical schools, and the government, Since they do something that is pretty much universal, I suppose they are needed everywhere there are people.

Forensic scientists, depending on education and experience earn from about $22,000 to 50,000, but a forensic pathologist would earn around $70,000.

There are a few risks involves with this job. For instance, if you simply werent careful, you could get sick just from an autopsy of someone who died from something contagious. Aside from that, forensic pathologists often have to take time off to go to court as a medical examiner. Also, some things can affect you because they were more than you expected.

The company that I found that has employees in this field is Forensic Medical, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee. They do business in this country, representing 37 physicians and 48 hospitals in 4 states. I would assume they were at least somewhat profitable in the last few years. The company was started in 1997 and has only grown.

None of the colleges that I was looking at have majors to prepare me for this field, or at least not as far as I know. Most of the schools Ive been looking at are art schools and so they would not have any courses like that. Being a forensic pathologist sounds interesting, but I dont think I could deal with it. For one thing, Im a little squeamish about that stuff, even though I was good at dissecting thing back in biology. Also, theres way too much school involved. You have to go to regular college, then medical school, and then that whole 5 to 6 years of training afterwards. I dont think theres any way at all that I would want to have that job.

Bibliography

Forensic Medical  http://www.forensicmed.com

Forensic Pathology  http://www.neosoft.com/uthman/forensic_path.html

Forensic Science Web Page  http://home.earthlink.net/thekeither/Forensic/forsone