A pathologist is a physician who studies body fluids and tissues, helps your primary care doctor make a diagnosis about your health or any medical problems you have, and uses laboratory tests to monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions.
A pathologist may also recommend what you can do to prevent illness and maintain good health. For example, when your blood is drawn as part of your annual physical, the pathologist supervises testing and performs tests to help assess your health.
A pathologist will also examine a tissue biopsy to determine if it is benign or if you have cancer, and shares that information with your primary care doctor. Some pathologists specialize in genetic testing, which can for example, determine the most appropriate treatment for particular types of cancer.
Pathologists also perform autopsies, which not only determine the person’s cause of death, but may also discover more information about the genetic progression of a disease. This discovery can help family members take preventive action for their own health and can aid researchers in developing future treatments.
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A Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a medical degree, the meaning of which varies between different jurisdictions. In some countries, the MD denotes a first professional graduate degree awarded upon initial graduation from medical school. In other countries, the MD denotes an academic research doctorate, higher doctorate, honorary doctorate or advanced clinical coursework degree restricted to medical graduates; in those countries, the equivalent first professional degree is titled differently (for example, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in countries following the tradition of the United Kingdom)
In 1703, the University of Glasgow's first medical graduate, Samuel Benion, was issued with the academic degree of Doctor of Medicine.
University medical education in England culminated with the MB qualification, and in Scotland the MD, until in the mid-19th century the public bodies who regulated medical practice at the time required practitioners in Scotland as well as England to hold the dual Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees (MB BS/MBChB/MB BChir/BM BCh etc.). North American medical schools switched to the tradition of the ancient universities of Scotland and began granting the MoD title rather than the MB beginning in the late 18th century. The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York (which at the time was referred to as King's College of Medicine) was the first American university to grant the MD degree instead of the MB.
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Early medical schools in North America that granted the Doctor of Medicine degrees were Columbia, Penn, Harvard, Maryland, and McGill. These first few North American medical schools that were established were (for the most part) founded by physicians and surgeons who had been trained in England and Scotland.
A feminine form, "Doctress of Medicine" or Medicinae Doctrix, has also been used by the New England Female Medical College in Boston in the 1860s. In most countries having a Doctor of Medicine degree does not mean that the individual will be allowed to practice medicine. Typically a doctor must go through a residency (medicine) for at least four years and take some form of licensing examination in their jurisdiction.