A History of the Development of Pathology in Pakistan

When we think of the development of laboratory medicine, we must briefly narrate the initiation of medical education in the sub-continent with a special reference to how and when the subject of Pathology was introduced in Pakistan. During the Raj by East India Company, the British rulers created a medical school in Calcutta in 1835-Calcutta Medical College. The college was a success; it was only about 25 years later when the British government decided to create another medical institution that was in Lahore which even in those days was a very central place for various activities of learning. The formation of Lahore Medical School came into existence in 1860. It was started at the present site of Government College University and the hospital for Lahore Medical School was just a mile away in the foreign stables near a well known ‘tibby police station’ close to one of the gates of the walled city of Lahore i.e. Texali Gate. The first principle of this medical school was J.B Scriven (1862-1870) — a civil surgeon previously located in Calcutta Medical School. Dr. Scriven and his followers worked hard to develop the Lahore Medical School that progressed to Lahore Medical College (1886) and ultimately to King Edward Medical College (1911) and in the year 2006 it became King Edward Medical College University.

The well known Mayo hospital which is the oldest teaching hospital in Pakistan, its building was completed in 1871 and inaugurated by the Earl of Mayo – then the Viceroy of India. Later on the King Edward Medical School was shifted to the present site of King Edward Medical College which was actually a railway hostel., next to Mayo Hospital. The subject of Pathology initiated in 1892 with the creation of a combined chair of Pathology and Materia medica. In 1895, the first Pathology laboratory (consisting of only 2 rooms) along with an adjoining autopsy room was created. The first independent chair of Professor of Pathology was created during the tenure of Lt. Col. J.F. Perry, who created it in 1908-09 by splitting the combined chair of Pathology and Materia Medica, (created in 1892). In 1911 the Lahore Medical College was renamed after the King Edward VII. This happened during the tenure of Lt. Col. D.W. Sutherland who later on created a post of Pathology lecturer as well, in addition to the post of Professor. The King Edward Medical College housed the famous Patiala Block (administrative and lecture complex block) and Bahawalpur Block (Pathology, Physiology and Biochemistry Block). The gross Pathology was practiced in medico-legal postmortem area which also housed a cold storage to preserve the dead bodies. Among them autopsies (pathological autopsies) were also performed on those who died due to natural causes.

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