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Anatomic Pathology

To see a clear vision of what the Division of Anatomic Pathology was, is, and will be in the practice of the profession of Medicine, let us walk down the memory lane. Looking back at history guides us in shaping the future direction of our Division. There are always lessons to learn and experience to reckon with. The history of the Division of Anatomic Pathology of the Santo Tomas University Hospital is synonymous with the Department of Pathology of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. When the Faculty of Medicine was established on May 29, 1871, Pathology was taught as “Abnormal Histology” at the University. According to records, Dr. Quintin Maynet taught surgical pathology in 1874-1875. Together with Clinical Medicine, Pathology was taught also in the fourth year of the six-year course in Medicine. Dr. F. Bueno y Chico, handled the subjects of Legal Medicine, Toxicology, and Dermatology among the sixth year students. He was also a professor in Obstetrics, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Surgical Pathology and medical pathology from 1889-1890.

Within the early years, an “amfiteatro de diseccion y autopsia” was constructed in the San Juan de Dios Hospital the designated hospital for clinical rotation of the medical students of the University of Sto. Tomas. This was embodied in a royal decree. The laboratory of San Juan de Dios had contributed to the discipline of Pathology. UST Medical graduates must have manned the laboratory since it was recorded that one Dr. Ignacio Ortigas, a 1906 graduate, performed a Wasserman test and other laboratory procedures. Unfortunately, in 1944, the records of San Juan de Dios Hospital were destroyed. Autopsies were already performed even those years.

From Dr. Onofre Garcia’s recollection of his student days, he mentioned about using gross pathology specimens from past collections culled from the autopsies in San Juan de Dios “ampiteatro”. Dr. Jose Rizal, exhibited medico-legal know-how as he diagnosed a murder by strangulation of a Sanitaria Mayor which was originally “diagnosed” as “suicide”. And with the coming of the Americans, laboratory medicine made great strides in the Islands. In 1907, the Department of Pathology was officially organized in the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Manuel Guerrero was appointed.