The Cooperative Academy of Professional Education (CAPE) that governs Cochin Medical College (CMC) at Kalamassery has sought a clarification on the allegations that its pathology investigations in six cases failed to diagnose cancer while tests elsewhere proved otherwise.

The clarification was sought after the medical college authorities sent a request for an advanced microtome, a machine used to slice sections of the tissue to be analysed for pathology investigations.

CMC Medical Director Junaid Rahman insists that the machine at medical college is not faulty but old. “It is about eight years old,” he said.

Dr. Rahman said a section of the newspapers had reported that the diagnosis was wrong. But the pathology reports had indicated that it was not final confirmation and had recommended a second opinion.

In certain cases, the pathologist also recommends a histochemical analysis, which is not done at the medical college. In all the six cases that were reportedly diagnosed as false, the microtome was not the machine used, he added. However, the medical college needs to have an advanced machine, he said. Dr. Rahman said the medical college had generated 179 pathological reports during the last three months and CAPE sought a review of the reports. The reported false diagnosis was highlighted in only about six cases from the chest department. CAPE had asked for specialty-wise pathological reports and also asked for a clarification why only cases from the chest department were reported to be false.

CAPE has also asked for a report of the Clinical Pathological Committee, an inter-departmental meeting to discuss doubtful cases. Dr. Rahman said there was no particular timing for these meetings, but happen whenever difficult cases come up.