Will Your Doctor Tell You When They Error?

  A case I remember well involved a simple endometrial scraping, a curetting, a common type of specimen. An error occurred and it nearly resulted in a patient getting treatment for cancer that she didn’t have. As a patient, do you think the lab should have reported this error? It caused the patient no harm.…… Continue reading Will Your Doctor Tell You When They Error?

Foreign Bodies

Body parts, as well as things that shouldn’t be in the body, get sent to the Histology Lab. At one of my first positions as a tech, I saw a McDonald’s coffee cup that had been pulled from a person’s colon. It was filled with cement and shoved up there and got stuck.   At that time, I…… Continue reading Foreign Bodies

CJD: Contagious Dementia

CJD: Contagious Dementia One of my co-workers has inhaled a specimen infected with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, CJD. There was a case that no one knew was CJD. She cut it, which creates thin paraffin ribbons. The ribbon broke. It fluttered at her face and she breathed. The next day a pathologist called our lab and told…… Continue reading CJD: Contagious Dementia

Trash

Patient biopsies can be accidentally thrown away. When I first started this job they didn’t save the trash, as was common practice at other jobs. They tossed out a few biopsies, as happens once or twice a month, and couldn’t retrieve them because the trash was taken away the night before. Now they save the trash. They save…… Continue reading Trash

Lost

You have had a mole removed. It could be cancer. It looked suspicious enough that your doctor removed it. He sent it to the lab and you never received a diagnosis. The specimen was lost. You can’t resubmit the specimen like you could blood or urine. It’s gone. What happens now? Did you get a…… Continue reading Lost