RE: returning tissue blocks to relatives

From:Tim Webster <>

Hi all,

As I understand it, the only blocks that are being returned are those in
cases where the patient/family had specific religous/cultural beliefs.
While I personally cannot see the value of fragments of embedded
tissue(especially as they are most often "representative" of a larger piece
of tissue that has long since been incinerated!)who are we to judge values?

If it brings the family peace & closure, then fine. - But the headache of
locating and returning blocks is awful.  I guess we need to rewrite all
those consent forms, so the patient states they either do or don't give a
hoot what happens to the surgically removed tissue - then add a "fee" for
the nightmare of keeping track of the ones that do! Afterall, we charge for
"band aids",we have cpt codes up the ying yang - Is it a stretch to say that
it is an extra service that needs to be paid for?

As for tissue returns "ending all academic research in human pathology",
with all due respect to Allen and my other colleagues who expressed a
similar opinion, thats a stretch - although it is a sound "wedge" or "foot
in the door" argument! 

Have a good day all,

Tim Webster
Northwestern Medical Center
Fairfield Street, VT
(802) 524-1070

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard N Powell []
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001 7:03 AM
To: denise M m Long-Woodward;
Subject: RE: returning tissue blocks to relatives

This could create some interesting legal dilemmas....

We are required by law to retain blocks and slides for twenty years and
there is a current move to make the requirement indefinite.... Which law
will be the prevailing one? Added to this there is a "cultural" (Australian
Aboriginal) requirement that all tissues removed are either retained by the
lab or mortuary to be handed to relatives when the original owner dies or
given back after examination. This lately has extended from the usual (pre
ninteen week) foetuses to placentas and other tissues. The potential for
eternal trouble is also stirred up by the social workers who encourage this
behaviour !........

Our museum collection was put at great risk a while ago when a stolen
exhibit (a very unusual tattoo) turned up on the shelf of a tattoo parlour
and was recognised by the wife of the diseased.

Richard Powell

-----Original Message-----
From: denise M m Long-Woodward []
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001 5:34 AM
Subject: Re: returning tissue blocks to relatives

DNA for cloning????

On Thu, 31 May 2001 08:58:44 -0400 "Dr. Allen A. Smith"
<> writes:
> I am disturbed by the suggestion from the U.K. that tissue blocks
> from
> autopsies be returned to relatives of the deceased.
> I cannot see what use the tissue blocks from an autopsy would be to
> relatives.
> Taking them out of the pathology lab system seems to be a formula
> for ending
> all academic research in human pathology.
> Allen A. Smith, Ph.D.
> School of Graduate Medical Sciences
>    Podiatric Medicine and Surgery
> Barry University
> Miami Shores, Florida

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