Biopsy 2012: Safety Should Reign Supreme

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 During GI procedures there may be times when the doctor will take none, one or multiple biopsies, and regardless of the number, there must be some consistent practice when handling biopsies, said Leslie McRae-Matthews, MSN, CGRN, GI clinic nurse liaison at Orlando VAMC GI Clinic, in Orlando.

"This tissue is taken many times to confirm or make a diagnosis; therefore, care should be given during this time," McRae-Matthews said.

She offered the following advice:

1.  When the doctor takes a biopsy, if she does not identify the site, the staff in the room should ask and then repeat the site, then document it.

2. At the end of the procedure, all staff involved in the procedure (doctor, nurse, and tech) should verify the location and the number of specimens taken.

3. The specimen should be verified with the pathology slip (write the label exactly the way the doctor has entered it).

4. When labeling the specimens, there should be a check and balance with the staff to verify the patient, the patient name on the label, and the location of the specimen. Place it on the appropriate bottle and in the correct solution. Most important: WRITE LEGIBLY.

5. Once the specimens are labeled, make sure that the tops are secure. (The lab personnel do not want to receive a specimen bag full of fluid and not be able to read the label).

6. Transport the specimens in a secure container and take them to the lab.

7. Once in the lab, verify the patient name, name of the specimen and the number.

Hopefully this will help. If these steps are followed consistently and in order, it's less likely that specimens will be mishandled.

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