[Histonet] Re: release of tissues back to patient

Bob Richmond rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
Tue Nov 8 14:35:03 CST 2011

Allison Hutton asks:

>>We had a question come up regarding giving patients back their placentas (patient's request) after delivery.  Our general rule is not to return tissues, except for religious reasons. We are now trying to come up with a concrete SOP for (or not) returning tissues. I was curious what other institutions are doing in regards to this topic. I know laws vary by location but I am looking for a general idea.<<

This is a complicated topic. There's a bizarre fad out there for
women's eating their babies' placentas. Obviously they don't want them
fixed in formalin. I actually had such a request once.

Highly observant Jews may require burial of resected tissue in a
Jewish cemetery, and native Americans may have similar requirements.
I've also had requests for return of amputated limbs for burial in a
rural family cemetery. Requests like this are best handled with the
help of a funeral director.

I think the Joint Commission (or whatever they're called this week)
has banned souvenir gallstones and tonsils.

Remember if you simply must hand a patient fixed tissue, transfer it
from formaldehyde to 70% alcohol - much less toxic.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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