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Search the knowledge base Specimen handling guide












University Medical Office Building 2nd Floor

For Pathologist call: 903-2417






Unit phone:










Leo Pei, M.D.







Medical Staff:

Bernardo Ruiz, MD, PhD

Tracy Dewenter, MD







Manager (s):

Fran Gibbons MT(ASCP)
Sherry Wilkinson Administrative Assistant

Jennifer Connor Administrative Assistant









Service hours:


0730h - 1600h, Monday through Friday
Closed on weekends and holidays












OBJECTIVE: To provide accurate and timely diagnoses of diseased tissues removed at Medical Center of Louisiana in New Orleans.

All surgical specimens on human tissues removed in the Hospital must be sent to the Pathology Department where they will be properly processed, examined and reported.

Material received in the Surgical Pathology Laboratory is assigned to either the LSU or Tulane service depending upon the prefix of the hospital number. Medical school designations cannot be arbitrarily changed; each specimen becomes the responsibility of the designated school service.

All specimens must be identified with the patient's name, clinic or ward, hospital number, and the type of tissue submitted. Clinical diagnoses, relevant history, and operative findings should be included on the pathology request slip. The submitting physician must legibly sign the slip, include his service and beeper number. In case of any apparent incorrect labeling or mix-up in the identification of a biopsy specimen, such specimen will not be processed by the laboratory. Specimens should be transported directly from the operating room or the treatment room to the Pathology Laboratory.

The proper identification of the specimen and the care and preservation of the specimen are the responsibility of the attending physician until the specimen is received in the Pathology Laboratory. Surgical specimens must not be removed from the hospital prior to the examination by the Pathologist. Special research techniques or surgical materials are never indicated as a primary procedure. If a positive diagnosis has been made on biopsy material, additional biopsies may subsequently be taken for special research techniques.

Diagnostic studies on tissue processed by routine histopathologic techniques are required by hospital rules. Deviations from this standard procedure will be referred to the chief resident and staff of the clinical services as well as Tissue Committee. It is the responsibility of the clinician to alert the pathologist to the need for bacteriologic studies. Material to be cultured should be submitted in a sterile container and should be kept separate from material submitted for histopathologic study. If a question arises regarding the techniques for obtaining and handling tissue for culture, the clinician should consult with the Pathology Laboratory.


If it is necessary to request slides from private hospitals or from other Louisiana Hospitals on individuals who are presently patients at Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, please submit your request for these slides through the Histopathology office. The letter should be signed by the requesting physician. As soon as the slides arrive, they will be assigned a special number and examined by the appropriate surgical pathology service. A report will be sent to the Record Library to become part of the patient's permanent record and a copy of the report will be sent to the requesting physician.

Consultations between the pathology laboratories of the two local medical schools should be handled in a formal manner. The clinician who desires the consultation should request that the slides be sent to the consultant by the responsible pathologist. A verbal report which results from an informal consultation cannot be used to legally justify a particular type of treatment and is not recognized by Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans.

Slides which are needed for conference directly concerned with medical care may be checked out of the files at Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, but should be promptly returned. Physicians who do not comply with this rule will lose their privileges in the Pathology Laboratory. Problem cases will be referred to the Chief on the respective service. Lack of cooperation at this level will result in the loss of privileges for the respective service. These cases will be referred to the Hospital Director.

The slide becomes part of the permanent hospital record of the patient. The paraffin block is also part of the permanent record and should be preserved in anticipation of the need for additional studies. Wet gross tissue is saved for a one month period of time following the final interpretation of the histopathologic preparations. This wet gross tissue is available to the two medical schools for preparations of study sets or for additional studies.

Sections prepared from paraffin blocks of surgical pathology material at either of the two medical schools should be given Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans labels and should be returned to the files at Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, following completion of indicated studies. It is not the responsibility of the Pathology Laboratory to furnish slide sets to residents in training. Abuses of the files in the Pathology Laboratory will be referred to the Director of the Laboratory. Gross surgical specimens are dissected and described every day in the Histopathology Laboratory. The house staff is invited to review the gross specimens by arranging a convenient time with the Pathology residents on each service (LSU 903-2496 or Tulane 903-2422). No surgical specimen is to be dissected by anyone other than a member of the Pathology staff without specific approval of the responsible pathologist.

In cases where the surgeon wishes to see the specimen dissected in the operating room, a member of the pathology staff assigned to frozen sections should be called to assist in or perform this service.

The material received in the Laboratory must correspond to that indicated by the surgeon in his description of the operative findings and of the specimens removed. Discrepancies will be referred to the Chief Resident of the responsible service .

The concept behind the frozen section is that of consultation between physicians. Frozen section consultation should be scheduled when the operation is scheduled. A frozen section generally is indicated when there is a need for an immediate therapeutic decision. Occasionally, a frozen section is indicated to shorten the patient's hospital stay or to qualify the patient for an emergency status on the operative schedule. Frozen sections are not indicated for the personal convenience or curiosity of the surgeon when an immediate therapeutic decision is not involved. Request for frozen section consultations should be accompanied by a pathology request slip with adequate documentation of the need for frozen section. A pathologist will be on call for emergency frozen section consultations in any cases in which a frozen section has not been scheduled, and can be reached via the paging operator.















Revised 07/29/2013