Life In A Dead End Job – Andy Parsons – 22nd September 2014.

Andy gave us an account of how he started his medical career.

This began at the age of 17 when, through family connections, he was able to attend phlebotomy sessions at Pinderfields and Chesterfield hospitals.  He subsequently started a medical course at Sheffield University whilst still only 17.  He then spent time relating his experiences as a medical student, which included an elective year in Kenya at a Nairobi Mission Hospital.  Here he came across cases of malaria, pellagra, tetanus and marasmus. During his free time he climbed 16,400 feet on Mount Kenya and also visited the Masai Mara game reserve.

Returning home he took his final examinations and qualified in 1974 as MB.ChB. subsequently he registered with the GMC in 1975. During his junior doctor days he did placements at Sheffield Royal Infirmary, Sheffield Royal Hospital, Thornbury and Chesterfield casualty department.

He then decided to have a career in pathology, specialising in histopathology.  He gained his MRC.Path. in 1982 and in 1984 he became senior lecturer and consultant in histopathology. After relating his pathway to becoming a consultant pathologist he told us more about pathological cases offering further slides to illustrate his points.

He carried out research into the effect of androgens in the development of liver cancer, and then decided that his main interest lay in ophthalmic pathology and in 1993 he became senior lecturer and consultant in ophthalmic pathology.

He identified, during his work, cases of melanoma in the eyes (which caused retinal detachment) and toxoplasmosis where the worm (originated from dog faeces) eventually found its way into the eye. He became involved in eye trauma cases, non-accidental trauma, mainly in the context of child abuse (direct or indirect).

Shaken baby head syndrome causes blood to occur in the eye and 80% of shaken babies have retinal haemorrhage.  He stated that whilst this could prove that the child had been abused, there was also another possible cause of having blood in the eyes i.e. from a difficult childbirth.

Many legal problems could present themselves so the pathologist had to be certain of his findings.

Thanks to Andy for his interesting presentation.