Re: daily number of blocks

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From:"Becky Scholes" <>,
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Nine of us work in our lab, on a unique schedule.  I have a brand new 
trainee, one 1/2 time histology aid, five histotechs, and myself, a bench 
supervisor that does the majority of gross.  One comes in at 3:45, the next 
4:00.  Then two at 5:00, one at 6:30, and one at 7:30.  I filter in at 
10:00, so that even 4:30 in-town pickups can be still processed the same 
day.  One of the 5:00 histotechs has to leave at 8:00 AM  to do Mohs' 
procedures the rest of the day at several clients' offices.  The 7:30 tech 
assists one of our pathologists in another hospital in the afternoon.  We 
have at least four 20-slide trays ready for the courier to deliver to other 
pathologists at other hospitals at 8:00. We have a DRS-50 Sakura H&E 
stainer, and are checking out demos for a faster, more efficient stainer at 
this very moment.  No automation is used for special stains or IHC's.  My 
techs don't want an automatic coverslipper - by the time the slide is 
cleaned off, it might as well be coverslipped by hand, rather than go 
through even more motions to load and unload another machine.  We have 
discussed in detail about cleaning off the slides at the waterbath, but it 
was determined that if you try to clean off a slide with many ribbons 
attached, some of the tissue is inadvertantly pulled off.

In reply to someone else's questions about our day of 561, thank goodness it 
was a Friday, and I was just ready to leave, when I heard my histology aid 
mutter that it was going to be a bad night, since the first delivery from an 
out-of-town courier equaled a whole night's setup.  So....I stayed, and 
grossed until 10:00 PM.  It was my turn to do gross on Saturday on all seven 
deliveries (we don't microtome on Saturdays, but gross Friday night's 
deliveries, so that the TAT is much shorter).  No processing is usually 
done.  But in this case, I packed both processors (yes, I love my old VIP, 
too!) and embedded 300 blocks Saturday.  Then I called everybody to alert 
them to a true Monday From Hell, and the majority of them came in earlier 
than usual to cut all those blocks.  (This happened on Palm Sunday weekend, 
so I didn't want to even consider asking anyone to come in on that day...)  
My 4:00 tech came in at 1:30 AM.  So.... the pathologists came through again 
and again that Monday, thanking us for kicking out all those slides on what 
could have been an absolutely disasterous day.

In reply to another question, we place one section of a ribbon on a slide 
only if it is a large block.  The majority of our specimens are skins and 
biopsies, so we place multiple levels on one slide.  Punch biopsies 
sometimes take two slides, since we take a section every 60 micra when we 
first see tissue, until the tissue starts getting smaller.

Bec the Tec

>From: Kevin R Gray <>
>Subject: Re: daily number of blocks
>Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 13:06:27 -0400
>Thanks Becky.  How many people are doing the work?
>Becky Scholes wrote:
> > Hi, Kevin,
> >
> > We embed and cut an average of 250 blocks a day in an outreach lab.  The
> > summers are the worst, though, 300 a day.  One wild day last month we 
> > the grand total of 561!
> >
> > Bec the Tec
> > ________________________________________________________________________
> > Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at
><< kevin.gray.vcf >>

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