Outline the history behind, and application of, the Human Tissue Act (2004).. Discuss the role of the teaching medical museum in undergraduateand
Making the Link – Macro specimens and Histopathology (Group Work)
At the end of this session you will be able to
1. Discuss the role of the teaching medical museum in undergraduateand
2. Outline the history behind, and application of, the Human Tissue Act
3. Use simple examples of the language of pathology.
4. Explain the relationship between your knowledge of histopathology and the
cognate lesions or structural changes observed in museum specimens.
As part of this module, we have organised sessions to be held in the Gordon Museum
of Pathology, hosted by the Curator, Mr Bill Edwards.
This is very much a student-centred exercise where we provide you with a learning
environment. Here you will be able to explore selected specimens in the museum’s
Typically, the majority of histological specimens seen by pathologists and biomedical
scientists will arrive in specimen reception in pots full of fixative. Therefore, the
description of these specimens will be of them in their fixed, rather than fresh, state.
The specimens in the museum have also been fixed, so you will be seeing them in a
similar state to that seen at the cut-up bench.
In the Histopathology department, the specimens must be “described” before they
are prepared for processing to sections on glass slides. These descriptions are
dictated by the pathologist and tend to be precise and concise so that information on
the appearance of the specimens can be reviewed and understood by any
pathologist interpreting the slides in the reporting tray.
Here is an example:
Right breast excision
20mm right breast microcalcification B3 on biopsy
Pot labelled [patient’s name]. Right breast excision biopsy wide local: A fibrofatty tissue
fragment measuring superior to interior 23mm medial tolateral 22mm and anterior to posterior
25mm. The wire is passing near the short stitch attached superiorly. Specimen is sliced into
four slices, slice 1 being lateral most guide wire is passing through slice 2.
Block 1: Slice 1 lateral resection margin cruciates.
Block 2: Slice 2.
Block 3: Slice 3.
Block 4: Medial resection margin cruciate. No tissue remains.
SP3: 09 February 2018
Biomedical scientists mostly assist the pathologist at cut-up and will therefore need to
have some understanding of the descriptive language used. Some biomedical
scientists progress their careers by undertaking additional formal training in dissection
so that they can take on the role of the pathologist at cut-up for simple specimens.
In your groups, you should use your knowledge and understanding of anatomy,
histology and pathology to help you recognise and explain the presentations of the
various diseases on display. Every display specimen (or “pot”) has a code number
that links to a short description to be found in the relevant folder on the gallery sills.
You should also have copies of your histology and histopathology text books within
Once you begin to study these pots, you will be faced with the challenge of describing
what you can see. Why is this? How many different words can your group use to
describe the specimens? Is your vocabulary up to the task?
Assignment for your group’s ePortfolio
By now, you will be beginning to appreciate how important the language of pathology
is for describing macroscopic and microscopic specimens. We do not expect you to
be experts at anatomical description as this takes many hours of practical experience.
Nonetheless, by the end of the session you should be able to provide basic
descriptions at a macroscopic level, with the aid of drawings (photography is
prohibited in the museum), of either one neoplastic or one non-neoplastic
disease of your choice. Where possible, support your descriptions with a description
of the underlying histology at the microscopic level. These descriptions should be
uploaded to your group’s ePortfolio as a short one-page document and accompanied
by labelled histological slide images (derived from images available through WSB,
your SP1/SP2 sessions or other relevant sources) describing the underlying
histopathology. You may also consider sunstituting the written work with a two minute
Explain Everything video, not filmed in the Museum.
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