Formalin in the OR

From:Susan Owens <>

Amos, I hope you are trying to be funny.....But a formalin spill in or near
the surgery suites would be no laughing matter....Could very well endanger
the very patients you are trying to help........Just three weeks ago a
surgery aid wasn't paying attention to what they were doing and caused  two
gallons of formalin to spill onto the floor......Fortunately for the
doctors, nurses and patients the spill was in a closed work room just
outside the OR doors. It was discovered by a nurse walking by the room who
first smelled and then saw the liquid running out from under the work room
door........She told her super. who called Histo. It took two Histo techs
wearing formalin respirators to clean it up......Even then one tech took
sick and ended up going to employee health (she hadn't fitted her respirator
properly.) New respirators arrived this week and another 'in service' will
happen to instruct on the use and fitting .......In the nine years I've been
at this hospital, this was the first major spill I can think of.....In our
hospital we keep formalin respirators and neutralizing supplies where ever
we keep formalin.....

I hate to think want would of happen if the spill was even larger and/or
those fumes were to have enter a surgery suite.

Formalin in surgery (any size container) is not a good idea......

In our hospital surgery orders the zip lock plastic bags(all sizes),
prelabeled with 'formalin warming', puts the specimen in the empty bag and
takes to either Histo gross room or to a cart in a workroom in day surgery
where they then full with formalin.......The small bx's are put into hard
plastic jars/containers.

Susan Owens,HT

>Date: 13 Sep 2000 18:02:45 -0500
>From: Amos Brooks <>
>Subject: Re: Formalin in the O.R.

>    Hey I have an idea ... while you're at it you can remove sharps hazards
>by having the surgeons dissect with clubs and spoons ...come on, if you
>give a darn about the quality of the specimens then put up with the


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