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This is an excerpt from a member-only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login, subscribe, or try out HSC for 30 days.

Managing laboratory safety in your hospital

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September 1, 2010

Editors note: The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile, MT(ASCP), MA Ed. You can purchase the book by visiting www.hcmarketplace.com.

Becky worked in an independent lab in Cedar Rapids, IA. The lab was located in the downtown area about a mile or so north of the Cedar River. One summer, the city was hit with record-breaking floods that rendered the town helpless. The river overflowed, and no amount of sandbagging helped. Homes and businesses were lost, and one of the hospitals had to evacuate as it took on water. About 35,000 homes and businesses lost power, including Becky’s lab, which was in the basement of a large office building that included several doctors’ offices. With no electricity, the elevators didn’t work, and there was only minimal lighting in the hallways and stairwells. There was no air-conditioning or airflow, no generator, and the auxiliary lights lasted about two hours. Becky had to figure out what to do with thousands of dollars of reagents, patient samples, and microbiology plates that had to be read. She and her staff did the following: 

  • Reagents were divided among the employees, who took them home and stored them in their refrigerators until power was restored 
  • Patient samples were driven to a satellite lab 30 minutes away and run there 
  • Microbiology plates were read by flashlight 
  • Cell phones were used to call results 

 

Lessons learned from this experience 

  • Plan for a disaster, however remote it might seem 
  • Organize backups for the backups


This is an excerpt from a member-only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login, subscribe, or try out HSC for 30 days.

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