RE: Minnesota histology mistake

From:Sarah Jones

Dear Bill,
   I'm sorry I never met a pathologist like you in 20 plus years of
working in histology.  I would love to work with a pathologist such as
yourself.  I sometimes think it is an American phenomena, rush, rush,
rush, but as I read the BBC news, our UK brethren are under the gun as
well with staff shortages.  
  I had one pathologist that used to note the time when I gave him each
tray of slides.  He then made a report he took to the quality control
committee of the hospital.  Some time later I found out he wanted me to
quit so a friend of his could take the job.  Not a pleasant experience. 
He used to come and get me out of the lunch line to cut his frozens for
him; which I believe took more time than if he would have cut them
  I used to love adrenalin rushes and working in a hospital lab suit me
quite well when I was younger.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, my
adrenal glands wore out and now I can't take the rush, rush, rush
  I have a dream job now, doing research where the emphasis is on
quality, not quantity and we have a two week turn around time which our
supervisor regularly extends when we get busy.  I sometimes think about
changing jobs and going back to hospital work and then my sanity comes
back and I say, "Na", count your lucky stars girl and stay where you
are.  Ah, well, only a few more years to retirement in France.
  P.S.  Grins to Glen on his reply to Bill.  

Sarah Jones HT(ASCP)
Dept. of Vet. Anatomy & Public Health
Histology Lab
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4458
phone: 979-845-3177
fax:  979-458-3499

>>> Bill  01/29/03 03:08PM >>>
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 >>