Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pathology 101

It's no secret that I work at University of Michigan Hospital. Today I figured I would show you exactly what I do there.

I work in the Pathology Department. I mainly work with these:

Glass microscope slides and blocks.  

These are what a pathologist looks at under the microscope to diagnose cancer and other diseases. See how they sometimes mark them?

A big part of my job is to send  these pathology slides out for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer or some other disease and want to get a second opinion or treatment elsewhere.

Let's say a newly diagnosed patient wants to have a second opinion. They make an appointment at the another hospital. That hospital's  pathology department contacts us to have us send them the slides that the pathologist here used to make the diagnosis so that their pathologist can look at them too. I call this a case.

The first thing I do is print out all of the patients biopsy reports and send a request to the slide library for the slides. I can receive as little as one slide or as many as 60 per biopsy, depending on what part of the body. Some patients have had multiple biopsies. Sometimes they want slides from several years ago.

After I receive the slides I have to submit them all to the Surgical Pathology Officer (SPO). That is a pathologist who is assigned to review each case and make sure that the proper slides are being sent out. We use different colored cover sheets for this. Currently they are pink. We have about 6 SPO's and every week is a different one.

Once I receive the slides back from the SPO  I put them in slide holders. These particular cases hold 5 slides each. 

Then I get on the FedEx website,create a label pack them up and send them off!

We send slides all over the US and sometimes to Canada and I've even sent them to China!

After a while we get our slides back and a report from the hospital.

Then we scan that report into the patients record and into our pathology database. WE also make sure our pathologist gets a copy of the report.

At any given time I can have from 5 to 20 cases in various stages of completion going at one time.

Sounds simple enough, right?

In the next post I'll tell you all of the things that can (and do!) go wrong!

Until then....



Sally said...

No ma'am, it doesn't sound simple to me! But, it is really nice to learn what you do. I had wondered, so thank you, buddy.


Judy said...

OH--this job would make me very nervous!!! You are dealing with people's lives for sure. Do you ever feel sad when you see the path report and know that person has cancer? I think I would have to stop and say a prayer for each patient. Your job is very important, Jeanette!!!

Donna said...

Holy smokes, that is a neat job! And it takes a lot of organizational skills too!

Donna said...

Oh Goodness!! What a fantastically important job you have!!!!
Bless your heart....this is something you MUST get right...

Joan Caruso said...

Wow..that looks like an interesting job!! I bet you are never bored...

Anonymous said...

It looks to be a very important and interesting job that you do!

Grandma K said...

And the responsibility! Wow!

Weekend-Windup said...

You are in a very good and difficult job to serve others. Keep going!!