Goudge: Proper Training in Forensic Pathology Key to Avoiding Future Tragedy

    Royal College sets standards to address the need

    OTTAWA, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada commends The Honourable Stephen Goudge and the Commission
of the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario for a
comprehensive and thoughtful report. Among its many recommendations is the
identified need for high standards in the medical education of forensic
pathologists. The Royal College has taken great strides in setting the
standards of training in forensic pathology and fully supports the
Commission's call for better funding to develop the discipline.
    "The Royal College has finished laying the ground work to ensure that
training in forensic pathology can be offered and certified as a recognized
specialization in laboratory medicine in Canada," stated Dr. Andrew Padmos,
FRCPC, CEO of the Royal College. "Pathologists from across the country came to
us because they recognized the need for specialized training in forensics.
With them and other experts, we have established forensic pathology as a
subspecialty and determined the specific requirements, objectives of training,
competencies and standards of the discipline."
    Forensic pathology is a subspecialty of anatomical or general pathology.
Of the 17 medical schools in Canada, 15 currently offer training in anatomical
pathology and 11 offer a general pathology program. As of September 2008, the
University of Toronto was the only medical school in the country to submit an
application for a residency program in forensic pathology, with others
expected to follow. If all the requirements are met, they should be training
forensic pathologists in 2009.
    According to Dr. William Fitzgerald, FRCSC, President of the Royal
College, "Before the medical schools can offer the forensic pathology
programs, they must first secure the necessary funding. We commend the Goudge
Commission for acknowledging the critical need for adequate and sustainable
funding to grow the profession. However, the need to do so extends beyond
Ontario's borders."
    The Goudge Commission addressed the incidents relating to pediatric
forensic pathology in Ontario. There have been a number of pathology related
incidents across the country whose inquiries are still underway. Early
indications however may point to inadequate financial and human resources for
pathology generally as among the underlying causes. As such, funding is one of
the issues that must be resolved in order to better support the development of
the emerging field of forensic pathology not only in Ontario but across
    Forensic pathology subspecialization requires an additional year of
residency beyond the five years necessary to become either a general or
anatomical pathologist. The training requirements established by the Royal
College include 11 months in death investigation and training, as well as
experience in post-mortem investigations. An additional month is dedicated to
training in areas that include toxicology, trace evidence, firearm and
toolmark examination as well as photo analysis and others including specific
research to further develop the field.

    The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is the national,
not-for-profit organization that oversees the medical education of specialists
in 61 specialties and subspecialties in Canada by setting high standards for
postgraduate medical education and continuing professional development. In
collaboration with health organizations and government agencies, the Royal
College also plays a role in developing sound health policy in Canada. Over 80
years have gone into developing the approach that assures Canadians that Royal
College certified physicians have achieved some the highest standards of
medical education in the world.

For further information:

For further information: or to request an interview, please contact:
Cecily Wallace, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, (613)
260-4180, Cell: (613) 286-7328, CWallace@rcpsc.edu

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