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Why I became a haematopathologist
  1. P G Isaacson
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor P G Isaacson
 Department of Pathology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London WC1E 6JJ, UK; p.isaacson{at}

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The Editor has suggested that the Journal’s readers would be interested to know how I came to follow my particular career pathway. Why this interest? Is it because it is an unusual career to have chosen? Has my career has been unusually long or unusually productive? Naturally, I like to think it is because of the latter but it is probably a mixture of all three. In any event, it was not the career I chose but the career that chose me.

Perhaps I should first explain why I chose to become a pathologist at all. I entered medical school, at the University of Cape Town, without the slightest knowledge of what was entailed in studying medicine. A year of general science was followed by the grind of anatomy and physiology, interesting in their own right but hardly the exciting stuff of medicine. The third year of medical school was an eye opener. We were still not exposed to patients and most of the year was devoted to pathology (histopathology, haematology, chemical pathology, and microbiology), at 592 hours by far the longest course of the entire curriculum. The pathology course comprised a mixture of lectures (unillustrated), a daily necropsy, comprehensive practical classes, and small group tutorials. Most of what we did would today be considered a colossal waste of time …

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