First of all, check with your Safety department, and find out if they have a
policy about releasing specimens that are fresh/biohazardous or
fixed/chemical hazard. The Safety department might already have a policy, or
if they don't, might be willing to help you write one. You might need to
confer with Epidemiology, also.
Second, you might need to check with your Legal department. They can check
into the legal requirements of your state. Have Safety and Legal talk with
In our institution, we had to write up a page to be given to someone
requesting their specimen. This page explained about the department's need
to hang onto specimens for CAP for 2 weeks after final diagnosis (so the
request could not be honored until after that time), the dangers of
formaldehdye, and the dangers of fresh specimens. That the specimen should
not be removed from the container, and that the specimen must be kept out
the reach of animals and children. The person requesting their specimen must
read this page.
Then we have a check list for the lab people to follow, about washing the
specimen, placing in appropriate containers, putting on appropriate labels
(formaldehyde warning or biohazard), verifying ID of person picking up
specimen (that it belongs to them or their child), and getting pathologist's
to sign to release the specimen.
Then we have the patient sign a release form in which they acknowledge
receiving the page of hazards, that they have read it, that they assume
responsibility for following the instructions, and that they cannot hold the
hospital or lab legally responsible for any injuries to anyone.
All of this had to be approved by Legal, Safety, Lab Compliance, our
department (histology, safety officer, pathologist over histology). In other
words, all the pages went through many changes before everyone was
When you think about it, histotechs have to have yearly training on the
safety of chemicals and formaldehyde, as well has biohazards. Why should the
public be allowed to take home a specimen unawares?
Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Price,
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 11:32 AM
Subject: [Histonet] release of Pathology specimens
Does anyone have a policy/procedure for the release of pathology specimens
to patients? (placenta, extremities, etc) Thanks Tiffany
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