Re: Cryostat knives

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From:Tim Morken <>
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From my 18 years experience I would say that NOT changing the knife is 
standard practice. Changing the knife between patients is completely 
impractical for the reasons you stated. In the last lab I worked in we often 
had two cryostats and four or five patient samples being cut at one time. 
The act of changing blades for all those would be far more hazardous than 
not changing them. Taking the blade out during maintenance is fine, as long 
as you can keep it, or another, cold. Why take it out at night? I don't 
understand that part.

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: Vinnie Della Speranza <>
Subject: Cryostat knives
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 13:08:32 -0400

in the aftermath of an employee injury, our safety officer is insisting that 
we remove cryostat knives at the end of the shift (leaving no blade in the 
cyrostat over night) and change blades in between patients. She claims that 
failure to do so would be a violation of OSHA's requirements for safe work 
practices. The employee nicked her thumb while tidying up the interior of 
one of our units.

We commonly juggle frozen section specimens from more than one patient 
simulataneously. We are a busy facility with a very large transplant 
program. It is not uncommon for pathologists to be called to do frozens at 
odd hours, hence the need for a cold knife that is ready to go at all times.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter and from facilities who 
might be using practices similar to that being asked of us. Thanks


Vinnie Della Speranza
Manager for Anatomic Pathology Services
Medical University of South Carolina
165 Ashley Avenue
Suite 309
Charleston, SC  29425
ph:  (843) 792-6353
fax: (843) 792-8974

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