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

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>