What better way to start the New Year than to lunch, munch and catch up on the festive news with old friends.
The mood of the Fryern Ladies’ Probus Club recent meeting, held at The Roundabout Hotel in West Chiltington, was extremely informal and relaxed as our speaker of the day Yvonne Price, bio medical scientist, was indeed an old friend of many of the W.I. ladies present.
Yvonne has spoken, in many venues, about her lifetime career in medical laboratory technology from her initial lab technician days to her eventual success as the (boss) lab manager.
Her talks cover a wide understanding in NHS Pathology and are well illustrated with such titles as: lab diagnostic testing in a London hospital, women pioneers in medicine and, the topic of today’s talk, ‘Under the Microscope - A Brief Look at Pathology’.
We were asked what “pathology” meant to us and many TV dramas immediately sprang to mind such as Waking the Dead, C.S.I. and Silent Witness.
We were told that indeed pathology is not just about dead bodies but mostly for the living and not for the dead.
While some pathologist certainly perform autopsies and forensic pathology; which looks at the possible cause of death - the vast majority of this work is certainly for the living and in the study of disease.
Yvonne went on to explain how 70% of diagnoses, and the cause and progression of disease in our modern life, relies directly on pathology and its many branches.
We have all been familiar with this testing whenever we have undergone blood tests or tissue samples to check possible underlying illnesses and have indeed welcomed this area of care.
It was interesting to be reminded of the four, main, specialist branches involved in this science and to have their functions explained in detail: ‘haematology’ which deals with diseases of the blood; ‘medical microbiology’ to study infection; ‘histopathology’ which studies disease in human tissue and ‘chemical pathology’ which deals with chemicals in the blood and other fluids.
Pathology also covers research into finding causes and in the testing of treatments for cancer, examining inherited conditions and developing suitable vaccines against any infectious diseases etc.
So the next time your doctor recommends testing for cholesterol, blood sugar, liver functions, any cancerous growth, potassium/sodium balance, hormone/thyroxin in balance, heart disease, stroke or haemoglobin deficiency – be grateful.
It is difficult to believe that on average every person in the UK has 14 tests per year diagnosed by a pathologist – quite amazing.
During Yvonne’s talk there was absolute silence as the ladies were devouring her every word – each to their own medical issues.
Many questions at the end showed concerns and interest about general health matters and possible help available – a very successful talk.
Yvonne was warmly thanked by Pat Guiver who also congratulated her on her recent promotion to Chairman of West Sussex W.I. Federation – we all wished her well and appreciated her inspiring talk.
We look forward to our next meeting, at the Roundabout Hotel on February 4 when, our good friend and travelling guru, Paul Haywood will recount his experiences of his travels in Tibet. Information about The Fryern Ladies’ Probus can be obtained from our secretary Barbara Yarrow on 01903 743262.
Report by Russ Fry. Picture contributed by Dita Stejskalova, The Roundabout Hotel.