[Histonet] Re: Radioactive specimens policy

Joelle Weaver joelleweaver <@t> hotmail.com
Fri Sep 5 07:16:21 CDT 2014

Had CAP inspection yesterday, while this was not specifically raised as an issue, my pathologist advised me to address in policy even though it is not terribly applicable in this lab situation. I was able to include with the exclusion list, specifically addressing the seeds and breast masses, sentinel lymph nodes, and this works with this being a reference facility that has no attached surgical facilities and so already has limits on the specimen types accepted for testing. This most likely would not suffice for a hospital situation. So short answer, I put a "policy statement together" within another policy, but a free standing policy might be needed depending on how much you see/handle these types of specimens.  Hope this helps.

Joelle Weaver MAOM, HTL (ASCP) QIHC


> Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2014 13:16:28 -0400
> From: rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
> To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
> Subject: [Histonet] Re: Radioactive specimens policy
> Amanda Reichard, HTL (ASCP)cm, at Licking Memorial Health Systems in
> Newark, Ohio asks:
> >>Would anyone be willing to share their policy/procedure for radioactive
> specimen acceptance, transport, storage, and disposal? - We are currently
> revising our policy and would like to see what precautions, if any, other
> institutions establish in the laboratory.<<
> I've never seen a written policy - these questions are customarily swept
> under the rug - but I've seen references though I have no very current ones.
> By far the most common specimens are breast masses and sentinel lymph nodes
> with technetium 99m, which has a half-life of only 6 hours. These specimens
> don't require any special handling beyond Universal Precautions.
> I haven't been able to get a lot of information about the radioactive
> "seeds" used to treat prostate cancer, and occasionally received in TURP
> specimens. The isotopes used have half-lives of around 70 days, so they
> would be regarded as being potentially hazardous for around two years (ten
> half-lives). It usually takes a phone call to find out how long ago the
> "seeds" were put in.
> Bob Richmond
> Samurai Pathologist
> Maryville TN
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