RE: Minnesota histology mistake
At 5:04 PM +0000 1/29/03, Marshall Terry Dr, Consultant Histopathologist wrote:
>As for the pathologist - there but for the grace of God go I.
It is scary and as someone said not entirely avoidable. For all, I
would like to add the ancient Greek axiom: Know thyself. Understand
when you are not competent- when you are too tired or stressed, when
you can't see what you are doing or find yourself rushing and STOP.
As my kids say it is time to 'chill' - take a break, ask for help, go
Most histopathology does not need to be rushed (regardless of what
the pathologists or surgeons say). So why rush? You can work on only
one block at a time. Think of those slides and slices of paraffin as
people - they ARE your patients. Feel free to remind a pathologist of
this if you feel one is breathing down your neck - directly or
through your supervisor as protocol suggests.
For a pathologist the above is most important too. Other things I do
besides check demographics: On every case I check if the gross
description is consistent with what is on the slide: size, shape,
color, number of fragments, number of slides and parts... If anything
is off, I double check even if it means calling the surgeon or
talking to the patient- or stating that I cannot be sure there has
not been a mix up.
I have noticed a troublesome, IMO, tendency to minimize gross and
micro descriptions which only make this more difficult. I also have a
rule that I am not to be bothered if I am reading a case or typing a
result (we type - don't dictate). This is following mostly ;-)
Finally, a histopathology lab should never be chaotic. If one becomes
so, it is time for someone to create order.
Wm F Blank MD
Heartland Laboratory, Inc
Chaffee, MO 63740
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