RE: Formalin in the OR

From:"George, Cheryl" <>

Susan,  I should have been clearer about where the formalin is kept.  It is
not in the surgical suites but in a room just outside of the surgical area
(about 150 feet from the nearest room).  There is no chance that a formalin
spill could enter a suite.  We also keep neutralizers and respirators
(PAPRs) where ever we have formalin.

I want to thank everyone who has responded to my question.  I must say that
I am surprised at the diversity of protocols!!  I learn something new every
day; what a great forum.  I would like to ask one more question on this
subject:  For those of you who refrigerate the specimens, have you noticed
any decrease in antigenicity for your IHC?

Thanks again for all of your help!!

Cheryl George, HT (ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology Supervisor

> ----------
> From: 	Susan Owens[]
> Sent: 	Thursday, September 14, 2000 6:06 PM
> To: 	HistoNet Server
> Subject: 	Formalin in the OR
> 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
> >too
> >by having the surgeons dissect with clubs and spoons ...come on, if you
> really
> >give a darn about the quality of the specimens then put up with the
> formaln!!
> >Amos

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