At our hospital, placentas are floated in formalin in L&D. Sometimes they
don't do a very good job of it, and just "anoint" them. I think it would be
a silly waste of personnel time, as well as creating the possiblity of
exposing staff, patients and visitors to potentially infectious material in
the event of a spill, to have every placenta delivered fresh to histology.
What's more hazardous, an occasional whiff of 10% NBF, or a hepatitis C
infected placenta spilled in the hallway?
Wesley W. Simms
I work in the surgical department of a large hospital. We get our specimens
in a variety of ways. Someone from the pathology department does 'pick ups'
every hour to specified refrigerators in the hospital that hold fresh
specimens. Sometimes the specimen is in formalin (if it's small enough to
fit in a 4-6 oz. container). Sometimes larger specimens in clear biohazard
If a specimen is collected from a patient 'after hours' or on the weekend
when there's no path tech available, a nurse brings the specimen (sometimes
in formalin, sometimes not) to a large fridge in the path dept where it
waits for me until the next morning.
For placentas, the specimen is placed in a red biohazard bag with the
patients information (label). Then placed in yet another red bio bag with
yet another label. Then it's placed into a brown sack which is labeled.
And THEN it's placed into a yellow bin that's delivered to the surgical
pathology department, where it waits in the fridge for me to put it in
Hospital policy is that nothing, nothing, nothing must be carried out of the
operating room unless it's in some type of sealed specimen container (if
it's small enough) and in a sealed biohazard bag.
Our operating rooms do have formalin, but it's in individual containers with
less than 20ml. If they need more at anytime for any specific procedure,
they call the path department and we instruct them from there. Usually, we
tell them to just bring the specimen fresh so the pathologist can gross it
Hope my ramblings gave you some insight....
Have a great day...
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