Move over Dr Watson, Tamworth has just welcomed two new medical detectives to the hospital fold as part of the highly competitive NSW Health Anatomical Pathology traineeship program.
One of those, Christoper Renaud, has always loved solving riddles and mysteries, although these days the mysteries that Dr Renaud is solving might just save your life.
The Canadian-Australian’s appointment in Tamworth only began two weeks ago, although the five year traineeship is the goal that he has been working towards since his tertiary studies began over a decade ago.
Anatomical pathologists are at the forefront of modern medicine, and Tamworth is at the forefront of that battle with the NSW Health Pathology Lab the only anatomical pathology lab processing and analysing samples locally.
“I love the challenge and the mystery of the work,” Dr Renaud said.
“The patient has a problem and we have the solution – we just have to find it.”
An anatomical pathologist prepares, tests and analyses organs, tissues and cells to diagnose diseases such as cancer, with 70% of all patient treatments based on pathology findings, while they are also relied on to provide on the spot preliminary diagnosis during surgeries.
The skills and knowledge required in the field allow for only 20 traineeships to be awarded each year by NSW Health, with a total of 90 trainees in the program at any one time.
The Tamworth laboratory processes somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 samples annually and they can range from full organs, to tissue samples, to blood and even right down to a single cell.
“Tamworth is a really great place to learn and to focus on the fundamentals,” Dr Renaud said. They have a really tight knit team here that are experts in their fields. And Tamworth is a really beautiful area as well.”
While the pathologists spend a lot of their time staring down the barrel of a range of microscopes and instruments, preparing the samples is equally as challenging and crucial to a correct diagnosis.
“We are the interface between research and clinical practice,” Dr Renaud said.
“To me it is a fascinating area of medicine that is hugely important.”