Really bad labs....Re: Proper clothing

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From:"Tim Morken" <>
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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)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333

PH: 404-639-3964
FAX: 404-639-3043

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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 THE 
>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
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