Re: formalin in O.R. and Formalin sub.

The way we handle OR and formalin (we are a moderate size hospital):

OR is stocked with small and medium sized containers of formalin.  We had
them monitored once to establish that routine handling is well within
formalin guidelines.  All larger specimens come to the lab fresh.  During
histo's non-staffed hours, the lab charge tech contacts the pathologist on
call to determine whether it needs to be placed in formalin (we don't call
pathologist about placentas however.)   It is up to the pathologist to
determine whether he/she wants to come in and open the specimens.
Occasionally the pathologist will talk the charge tech into opening the
specimen.   Some fo the surgeons will open the specimens (they love to do
that anyway, whether appropriate or not!)

Formalin is not allowed in the Birthing Center for placentas because of the
volume of formalin required.  The placentas that require exams are all
brought to the lab fresh...the lab places them in formalin (the med techs
in charge place it in formalin during our non-staffed hours.)

During non-staffed hours, all specimens are placed in a refrigerator in the
lab.  This is whether the specimens come fresh or in formalin.  This
process has saved many specimens when someone forgot to call the
pathologist or 'didn't know it was fresh.'

We also inservice the OR staff on specimen handling every 6 months.  Its
really been worth the extra effort.  We get to know OR staff  and they get
to know us.  We've been able to tweak any issues between the two
departments.  We also brought a cake to them when their QA improved
dramatically ( for submitting specimens accurately and appropriately to
us).  We did that years ago and they still talk about it.

Good luck

Barbara Davies
Memorial Hospital
Colorado Springs, CO

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