RE: Resistance to experimenting (was: times given in procedures)

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From:"Saby, Joseph" <>
To:"'Tim Morken'" <>,
Date:Tue, 31 Aug 1999 08:12:39 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Dear Tim-

The pre-packaged staining kits and automation are symptoms, not the disease.
With the downsizing of many histology labs, increased workload and ever
increasing procedures to do, not to mention increasingly improbable
turnaround times, most labs are swimming hard just to tread water.

Granted, with immuno and similar procedures, or when working out any new
procedure, time has to be taken to work out the details.  But I think most
lab administrators feel that H&E or for that matter any special stain that
has been successfully completed by anyone in a lab seem to feel that such
techniques are routine, and therefore cookbook.  There is little if any time
or resources to stain as I was taught, namely make all your own, stain
controls until the details are all worked out, and keep a sharp eye on
results all the time to optimize staining.  In fact, one hospital I worked
at didn't even have an easily accessible (or for that matter even a proper)
microscope to check results.

Purchased stains are quicker, but not necessarily consistent in quality.
When used with automatic stainers set to specific times, most labs just live
with the fluctuations in quality and blame it on things like "Every lab in
the country is having problems with their H&E's."  Until pathologists put
their foot down and demand only the best results, and insist on proper
staffing of the labs to ensure this, the issues we are here discussing will
not only NOT go away, but will continue to get worse as ever greater demands
are made on the technologists.

Time to get off my soap box.  I guess this is striking a nerve.

Joseph A. Saby, BA HT
Diagnostic Pathology, Pathology & Experimental Toxicology
Parke-Davis/Int. Pharm. Res. Div. Warner-Lambert
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Phone: (734) 622-3631
Fax:     (734) 622-5718

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Morken []
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 1999 7:41 AM
Subject: Resistance to experimenting (was: times given in procedures)

Steven Slap wrote

>Individual labs need to understand that they may have to experiment to 
>optimize procedures, but there is a growing resistance to this idea.<

This is an interesting problem. What sort of people are coming to work in 
the lab who are not willing to experiment to get the best results? I wonder 
if pre-packaged reagent kits and automation are working against us us this 

Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
Infectious Disease Pathology
Centers for Disease Control
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333


Phone: (404) 639-3964
FAX:  (404)639-3043

----Original Message Follows----
From: "Slap, Steven" <>
To: Barry Rittman <>,        histology 
Subject: times given in procedures
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:44:28 -0400

Dear Histonetters,

Barry Rittman wrote:
	As noted by several others here, the times for most techniques
are guides only
	to provide a range. The results depend on many  factors such as
	fixation and processing techniques and times, thickness of
section, type of
	tissue and final result that is desired.

I couldn't agree more.  As a vendor of microwave processors, I am always
being asked for fixation and processing schedules which are ideal for
all specimens under all possible conditions.  Individual labs need to
understand that they may have to experiment to optimize procedures, but
there is a growing resistance to this idea.  In my workshops, I try to
explain the principles behind the process so that trained technologists
will understand the impacts of varying certain parameters.

Best regards,
Steven Slap

Energy Beam Sciences, Inc.
The Laboratory Microwave Company
Adding Brilliance to Your Vision <>

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