Re: formalin detection

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To:"McCollough, Carol" <>, "'Skelton, Michelle'" <>, <>
Date:Thu, 16 Sep 1999 20:32:47 -0000
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Excellent point!  I was wondering why specimens were arriving in unlabeled
containers.  If the lab supplies them to the user, we are required to label
what is in the container. If unsullied containers are used, such as peanut
butter jars and the likes, then the submitted is responsible for labeling
the contents clearly.

I have always felt that the source of the problem should be handled by the
"problem maker"   If specimens are sent without proper identification, which
includes transport media, they should be returned.  Yes I know this causes a
delay and extra work, but as you point out, it is short lived when the
source is aware of the situation.  I would rather have a delay in my
specimen processing instead of being labeled incorrectly, Pt. name, Hosp. #,
specimen, site, or transport media.
Incorrect transport media could be a problem in proper processing.

Histology personnel are dumped on far to often and spend valuable time
trying to pull the pieces together, being "handmaidens" for others who
attempt to save time for themselves or are too damn lazy or stupid to take
care of the valuable specimens from a patient. i.e. req. info, proper
labeling, billing info, etc.

I don't think your response was flip at all.  :)  Mine may be, but ask me if
I care.  *Evil Grin*

Don Hammer

-----Original Message-----
From: McCollough, Carol <>
To: 'Skelton, Michelle' <>; ''
Date: Friday, September 17, 1999 2:22 AM
Subject: RE: formalin detection

>This is a rude and flip answer, so please don't get upset, but the solution
>is a label.  It is required in our lab that anything containing chemicals,
>including water, is labeled with the name of the contents.  I return
>unlabelled jars to the submitter and required them to do the sniff test,
>me.  After getting a snootful of formalin, ethanol, or acetic acid, they
>usually get the message.
>Regards -
>Carol B. McCollough, HT(ASCP)
>Diagnostics & Histology Laboratory Manager
>Maryland Department of Natural Resources
>Fisheries Service
>Cooperative Oxford Laboratory
>904 S. Morris Street
>Oxford, MD 21654
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Skelton, Michelle []
>Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 1999 1:15 PM
>To: ''
>Subject: formalin detection
>Is there anything out there (aside from noses and eyes) to detect the
>presence of formalin in a specimen container.  One of our pathologist has a
>difficult time determining whether something was submitted in formalin or
>Thanks in advance,
>Michelle Skelton
>Alaska Native Medical Center

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