RE: [Histonet] What are peoples feelings on pre labeling slides?

From:"Rebecca Barnhart"

I agree with Diane and Rene.  We pre label our slides and I personally
have not had problems with picking up the wrong tissue on the slide
because I check the case number and block number before I pick up the
slide.  After all that is my responsibility to make sure what is on the
slide, pre labeled or not, is the correct tissue.  We use to hand write
the case number on the slide then put a label on after staining.  We had
a tech that on different occasions put the wrong label on because she
was not paying attention to the case number that was hand written.   My
feeling is we can not be on autopilot and if a tech is not paying
attention when they are picking up a section on a pre labeled slide then
there is a chance they will mislabel the slide anyway.  Just my


>>> "Gladney, Diane C Ms MACH" 
2/3/2006 8:45:22 AM >>>
I agree with Rene. It is about attention to detail. I work in a small
lab and we pre-label our slides. I confirm the case and block number
with my prelabeled slides before I cut the block. This helps to
eliminate picking up the wrong slide. If a tech is rushed to get the
work out (whether using pre-labeled slides or not) and does not pay
attention to the detail of the surgical number and block number then it
is on the tech and not on the system used.


Diane C. Gladney, HT (ASCP)
Supervisor, Histology/Cytology
Moncrief Army Community Hospital
Dept. of Pathology
4500 Stuart Street
P.O. Box 484
Ft. Jackson, SC  29207 

Phone:  803-751-2530  FAX:  803-751-7829 

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Rene
J Buesa
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 8:23 AM
To: Stephen Peters M.D.; 
Subject: Re: [Histonet] What are peoples feelings on pre labling

  My personal experience:
  In the labs I have supervised all those histotechs that used to label
their own slides, did the labelling after the blocks were trimmed (faced
off) and were cooling in the tray. To allow a better cooling they used
to hand write the labels that they organized according with the blocks
that were cut immediately after.
  There were histotechs that used to label the slide after they picked
up the sections from the water bath while the block was still in the
  Other large laboratory I supervised had slides writing machines and
the slides were written before the tissues were even finished
processing. A lab aide did the writing and another matched slides with
blocks that were handed out to the histotechs.
  I know of supervisors that say it is a no-no to prelabel slides.
  In my experience any mismatch is due to the histotech and not to the
system. In the same way that any dislexic histotech can write the wrong
number before or after the section has been cut.
  Everything boils down to the care and attention the histotecs pays to
his/her work, not when the slides are written.
  Hope this will help.
  René J.

"Stephen Peters M.D."  wrote:
  I am curious to see if it is considered acceptable practice to
pre-label multiple slides before cutting the blocks and picking the
tissues up on these pre-labeled slides. We came close to a dangerous
misdiagnosis because a tech picked up a malignant section from a " part
2 breast biopsy" on a prelabled part 1 slide. Luckily it made no sense
that only one of many slides contained tumor that looked like it was
coming from an advanced tumor. After playing match the blocks it was
obvious that the malignant part one slide matched a part 2 block. It
seems to me that this is a potentially dangerous habit despite the
convenience of assembly line labeling. Early in my career I stopped
labeling my frozen section slides up front and wait until after I pick
up the section. When I am cutting frozens I make variable #s of slides
depending on the situation. Working quickly under the pressure of
multiple cases it is not hard to pick up the wrong slide and make this
mistake. I am curious to hear peoples thoughts.

Stephen Peters M.D. 
Vice Chairman of Pathology
Hackensack University Medical Center
201 996 4836

Pathology Innovations, LLC
410 Old Mill Lane,
Wyckoff, NJ 07481
201 847 7600 

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