RE: Really bad labs....Re: Proper clothing

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From:"Tarpley, John" <> (by way of Histonet)
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I've been trying to stay out of this debate, but your comments bring back
memories that prompt a response. I once worked in a hospital here in the
states, which shall remain nameless, where the histology lab was about the
size of 3 normal home closets. There were two people working in the lab and
within this area we grossed, processed, embedded, stained, coverslipped, did
special stains, prepared all reagents including fixatives, and did our
paperwork. There were no windows and no hoods. Whenever I questioned the
fumes problem the hospital sent around a guy from facilities who measured
the air flow and assured everyone that everything was OK. Amazingly we never
had an inspector from any agency question our ventilation. You knew it was a
bad situation when sales people would ask you to visit with them in the hall
because they couldn't stand to stay in the lab. Yet this same hospital had a
dress code that required men wear dress pants, solid colored shirts, and
ties at all times along with white coats. Periodically hospital
administration came around to make a white glove test of the lab looking for
dust on top of cabinets and other out of the way places. Bottom line was
that the hospital's definition of professionalism was how you dressed and
that everything be white glove clean, however, it was OK to be exposed to
very high levels of noxious fumes day after day. I must agree with the
people who say that professionalism comes from what you know, how you
conduct yourself, and what you do rather than how you dress. Thank goodness
for a research environment where every day can be casual dress day.

John Tarpley 15-2-B
Associate Scientist
Specialist Image Analysis & Immunohistochemistry
Amgen Inc
One Amgen Center Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA  91320

Views expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer

> ----------
> From: 	Tim Morken[]
> Sent: 	Wednesday, May 17, 2000 11:51 AM
> To:
> Subject: 	Really bad labs....Re: Proper clothing
> David,
> Your comments bring back memories. I too worked in Saudi but at least the
> hospital I worked in (King Faisal Specialist Hosptial) was CAP certified.
> I did "outreach" work with other hospitals to try to improve their labs.
> What an education! Some of those labs are dangerous just to enter. Imagine
> the grossing, staining and processing in one small room - and no hood of
> any sort. Windows are used for venilation, and it gets up to 130 F in the
> summer. We are lucky to be working in good labs where we can demand, and
> get, safety taken care of. People wouldn't  knock it so much if they had
> seen what it could be like!
> ---
> Tim Morken, B.A. EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
> MS-G32
> Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
> 1600 Clifton Road
> Atlanta, GA 30333
> PH: 404-639-3964
> FAX: 404-639-3043
> other email:
> On Tue, 16 May 2000 10:29:12   David Anderson wrote:
> >One of the reasons I came back to Saudi Arabia was to get away from an
> >almost smothering regulatory environment. However, I never intended to
> get
> >quite as far away as I did.
> >
> >Safety is not even a secondary concern here. We are required to wear
> white
> >lab coats at all times in the lab and gloves are to be worn when handling
> >specimens and chemicals. Our lab coats are cloth  and will only keep out
> the
> >air-conditioning. I think we have a pair of goggles somewhere, but I'm
> sure
> >there are no safety glasses.
> >
> >Our pathologists don't accept the germ theory. We get fresh lymph nodes
> >occasionally from patients known to have TB. Rather than divide the
> specimen
> >in surgery for histo and microbiology, or send it to microbiology first
> so
> >they can take their part and we can immediately fix our part, the
> >pathologists insist they want to see it first. So when we get one of
> these
> >fresh nodes, they plop it out on a paper towel on an open bench in an
> open
> >room, slice through it, make touch preps from the cut surface, then WAVE
> >SLIDES AROUND IN THE AIR (excuse me for shouting)to dry them off! And
> these
> >are supposed to be pathologists. Needless to say, I refuse to go into the
> >room when one of these things comes in; I didn't come here to commit
> >suicide. One day I walked by and saw one of the residents cutting a node
> >while another resident stood by watching and drinking coffee! I followed
> up
> >that particular node and discovered microbiology later got a positive TB
> >culture from it.
> >
> >The ladies who work in the TB culture room in microbiology wear lab
> coats,
> >gloves, and VEILS rather than masks, then they wear the lab coats and
> veils
> >everywhere they go, including home.
> >
> >Last year we got a spleen from a TB patient. It was filled with large,
> white
> >caseous lesions. The following day, the surgeon came and wanted to see
> the
> >spleen. Outside the pathologists' offices is a 10-head microscope where
> they
> >just happened to be having a little "tea party". While one of the
> >pathologists moved the food aside, another one got the spleen out of
> >formalin, spread the slices on a tray, brought it out like a plate of
> spare
> >ribs and set it down on the same table where they were having the party.
> >They all stood around and oohed and aahed over it, then took it back to
> the
> >gross room, moved the food back over and continued on with their party.
> >
> >A friend said "You have to make your own personal safety zone around
> >yourself and not worry about anyone else."
> >
> >Some days I miss those overbearing inspectors.
> >
> >David Anderson
> >Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital
> >Saudi Arabia
> >________________________________________________________________________
> >Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at
> >
> >
> >
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