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Medline, Paul B. M.D.
Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology
New York, NY, U.S.A.
To the Editor[colon]
Every certified pathologist should have the right to issue reports of diagnoses in a manner he or she sees fit. Yet there is increasing pressure on pathologists to tailor diagnoses to cancer protocols for as many as 32 different malignancies in which up to 87 different histopathologic findings are to be recorded. Nowhere in any of these protocols are criteria for diagnosis set forth. Furthermore, most of the information sought is irrelevant to diagnosis; much of it pertains to prognosis and is wholly speculative. The job of a pathologist is not to speculate, but to diagnose as accurately as possible. Pathologists should not be forced to become robots in their reports of diagnoses and risk losing their individuality! Pathologists and patients would be better served by concentrating on improving our diagnostic ability rather than focusing on peripheral matters that are of dubious value and soon will be outdated.
Paul B. Medline M.D.
[copy] 2000 Lippincott Williams [amp] Wilkins, Inc.
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