Almost 3 years ago I wrote a piece for Advance for Administrators of the Laboratory in their "Perspectives in Pathology" entitled Death of the General (Surgical) Pathologist.
This piece discussed the issues surrounding what is perceived by many as the increasing (and necessary) sub-specialization in pathology. The model of "everybody doing everything” has evolved into “everybody doing one thing".
Historically, practicing pathologists were solid general surgical pathologists, often times with their own expertise/interest in a particular area, but they prided themselves on being "surgical pathologists" rather than "liver", "hemato-" or "dermato-" pathologists as in today’s world. A number of factors have driven and resulted in this trend.
First and foremost, the needs of the market. Dedicated specialists in breast or gastrointestinal diseases are commonplace in medicine including the radiologist, surgeon, oncologist and radiation therapist. Pathology appropriately responded accordingly. Secondly, pathologists have driven some our own marketing and needs. The resulting potential problems are paramount and based on many fallacies.