[Histonet] Re: Paper Bags

Dawn Cowie dlcowie <@t> prodigy.net
Sun Apr 1 04:44:49 CDT 2007

hi Bob,
  As a manager, I have always shared with my staff the cost of our supplies. My staff care about what we spend and really try to be careful and not waste reagents, etc. I think part of it is that I will always try and buy the items/brands that my techs want to work with (certain kinds of microtome blades, etc.) even if they are more expensive. I think they appreciate this and therefore try to be conservative because they know I have a budget and must stick to it if at all possible. I'm pretty well left alone by my boss to purchase as I see fit and every year for past several years I have stayed within my budget (sometimes under budget) As I see it, as long as I do this, they leave me alone. I think the fact that the staff know what we pay for things really does help.
  As far as the tea bags go, we have found 2 things.
  1.  It is faster to use tea bags - both at the gross station and then at embedding. You don't have to search for the bx stuck down in the foam pad and its easier to find all the pieces.
  2.  If you put too many sponges in the processor, you get a lot more carry over from the reagents and therefore have to change your processor reagents more often.
  Summary - its not actually that much more expensive to use tea bags when you factor in the time saved at both grossing and embedding and the cost and time savings to not have to change your processing reagents more frequently.
  Another option for small specimens is to use the micro biopsy cassette from Surgipath. We really like these. You don't need tea bags or sponges. Instead of holes in the cassette, the bottom of the cassette is covered with a fine mesh. They work beautifully. Same kind of time savings at both grossing and embedding. The cost is about $200 for a case of 1000. We only use tea bags now for emb's and ecc's. Just pour the specimen container directly into the tea bag- you don't waste any of the specimen.
  Sorry for the long winded reply, I hope it helps tho.
  Dawn L. Cowie, HT (ASCP)
  Histology Supervisor
  Pensacola Pathologists, PA
  Pensacola, Florida 32503

rsrichmond <@t> aol.com wrote:
  Why would anyone want to use paper rather than the present-day nylon 
specimen bags?

I recently looked at the Fisher Web site and was astonished to learn 
from the

fisherhealthcare.com Web site, accessed a few days ago:
biopsy bag 30 x 50 mm, Fisherbrand 15-182-116
500 bags for $228.17
in contrast, Fisher offers biopsy foam pads, 22-038221
1000 rectangular pads for $73.91

In other words, those nylon bags list at around 45 cents US each, while 
the little blue foam pads are around 7 cents each, or half that if you 
cut them in two as I usually do.

Finding this out certainly made me change the way I use these two items 
- put small discrete biopsy specimens on blue pads (marked with a small 
drop of safranin solution), and reserve the bags for small curettage 
specimens, cell blocks, and things like that.

I've used these two items in a good man pathology practices, but never 
knew the cost of them before, since catalogs are always locked up in 
the lab manager's office and not available to histotechnologists. Will 
some of you Good Managers enlighten me as to why it's Good Management 
Practice to have bench techs not know the cost of the items they work 

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN
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