Pattern recognition. I heard the term coming from the first pathologist I ever worked for, in a tiny hospital, in a rural town on the west coast of central Florida. And had no clue what he was talking about. I was—and still am—a technician working in scientific research.
“How,” I had asked him, “can you be sure you’ve examined every single cell on the slide and not missed that one that’s abnormal? There are thousands of them!”
Dr. Winter didn’t raise his eyes from the microscope, just continued to scan the slide as he spoke. “It’s true: you can’t possibly look at every single cell. It’s all about pattern recognition. What you’re looking for is a break in the pattern. Once you’ve memorized what normal cells look like, it’s easy to spot the one that’s different. In time, with training, you will even be able to identify what type…
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