Fetus/POC Policy

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Date:Thu, 21 Oct 1999 22:57:05 -0400 (EDT)
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Hello Histonetters, 
               I have an interesting story/question. Twice this year I have 
been asked by the family of a patient who had fetal demise (delivered or 
c/s), at 19wks to view the fetus. Now, I would normally have no objections 
(even though I feel it isn't something wonderful to see for the grieving 
family) but in both of these instances, we received the fetus/placenta 
already in 10% Zinc Formalin (they have Formalin in the OB unit and bring the 
specimens to the lab already submerged). Does anyone out there have or 
implemented a policy regarding this situation? My risk manager was at a loss 
as to what to come of the situation, so we tried to sway the family's 
descision (at no avail) and we ended up letting them "view" the fetus through 
the original container (frosted and impossible to see anything clearly), 
telling them they were unable to open the container due to the hazardous 
materials contained in it. This apparently was enough "closure" for them and 
they were satisfied. But my risk manager and I still want to make a hospital 
policy concerning this issue. I am in Florida and I was wondering if state or 
local laws regarding Formalin and patient/non-hospital employees contact 
would be an issue? OSHA maybe? We have a release form for fetus' to funeral 
homes only, but we never release Formalin contaminated tissue/objects to a 
patient. Has this happened to anyone else out there? What did you do? I would 
really appreciate any information you might have. 

K. Zajic 
Histology Supervisor
West Palm Beach, FL

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