Gauteng Health ‘committed’ to clearing toxicology, histopathology backlogs

Gauteng Health ‘committed’ to clearing toxicology, histopathology backlogs

The Department of Health in Gauteng has promised to address the backlog in toxicology and histopathology cases at forensic pathology services in the province.

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The backlog in toxicology cases in the province currently stand at 17,000 while histopathology cases are just over 7000. 


Toxicology reports give an indication of the type and approximate amount of legal and illegal drugs that are in the deceased’s body by measuring how much of the substances is in their bodily fluids while histopathology involves examining tissues and/or cells under a microscope.


Departmental spokesperson Motalatale Modiba says some of these cases date as far back as 2007.  


"The backlogs can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the emergence of foreign drugs that are difficult to trace, an increase in cases involving sudden deaths, suspicion of poising among family members in case of unexpected death, the absence of medical histories for certain deceased individuals , and the limited availability of private laboratories willing to conduct state toxicology tests and appear as expert witnesses in court.”


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