Pathologist interfering with Medical Laboratory Services is not worth his Salt -AMLSN NP


The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria has said “any pathologist who is interfering with medical laboratory services is not worth his salt.”


The Association’s  National President Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi made the statement while fielding questions from Journalists in a recent interview by the Sun Newspaper.


Read the interview partly below:


There has been an issue between pathologists and medical laboratory scientists because the pathologists want to head medical laboratories. Has this matter been resolved?



The truth needs to be told that any pathologist who is interfering with medical laboratory services is not worth his salt. Primarily, the pathologist is a consulting physician. When you abdicate your role and job calling because of filthy lucre, and become meddlesome, you have at best reduced yourself in value and in your contribution to the healthcare system.

Now, the same government gives licence to you to practice as a medical officer/physician, and gives licence to another person to practice as a medical laboratory scientist, is there any point of conflict? The answer is no. Any time the pilot leaves the cockpit and goes into the cabin to struggle for the duty of the air hostess or cabin crew, certainly something is wrong with that pilot.


I recall very well that Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, a former Minister of State for Health once said that it is unimaginable that a pathologist who primarily is a physician would abdicate his consulting room, his duty of consultation and care to his patient to go jostle with the medical laboratory scientist on the bench on how to test blood, urine, and stools.


So, what is the duty of a pathologist? He is a consulting physician, who has to first deal directly with a patient in the consulting room, clerk the patient, make prescriptions, and interpret laboratory results to physicians who do not specialize in laboratory medicine. Consider where a patient comes for care and a general practitioner for instance or a physician with a different specialty (whether paediatrics, internal medicine, or family medicine) who is seeing the patient, and requests laboratory investigation. When such results are obtained and the particular physician does not know what to do with the results, he is supposed to interface with a pathologist who would jointly review the patient or ask that the patient be referred to him. He will review the patient based on the laboratory results.

He will then give advice, either directly to the patient or the family physician primarily caring for the patient. Very many years ago, at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, we had pathologists. Those of them with specialization in Chemical Pathology had their metabolic clinics. So, if somebody had diabetes that was becoming intractable, they would be there to attend to the patient. That is not a laboratory-based work; it is a physician’s duty. If we also have patients with hemoglobinopathy, they are referred to pathologists who have a specialization in heamatology. These are the primary duties of a physician, not testing for blood group or genotype. Unfortunately in Nigeria, pathologists have abdicated these duties and have been posturing themselves with contractors to supply chemicals, reagents, and equipment for use in the laboratories..



Way back in 1971, the scheme of service of the then-medical laboratory technologists was very clear. Under the relevant section, they were to “take charge of the medical laboratory.” If you are empowered by law and assigned the duty of taking charge, who should then superintend you? So, medical laboratory scientists are not middle-level manpower. They are trained to determine the tests, and the methodology for the tests, give the interpretation of results, its administration, and all matters connected to the laboratory. So, the type of scenarios being created in Nigeria is terrible. Nigerian pathologists should stay in their lane. Having been trained with the nation’s resources as physicians they should not abdicate their duty of care to the people and come into the laboratory because they think it is juicy.

This thing can only happen in Nigeria.


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