The Histology Lab at Avera McKennan is one of the more hidden places in the hospital, but the work being done in here is critically important to your diagnosis. Last year,in this lab alone, they processed approximately 200,000 and that's just one of the many labs in the hospital.
Pathologist Dr. Pete Travers is with Physician's Laboratory, Ltd. He says, "The most common specimen we get is a skin biopsy. People want to know what is this? Is it a lesion? Is it a rash? Cancer diagnosis is a major part of what we do and classifications on a whole other level of complexity."
Leo Serrano is the Director of Avera McKennan Laboratory's. He says, "This is the area where tissue is received after surgery. The tissue gets processed here. They go through a number of stages that most people don't see."
The second station in the histology lab is run by a pathology assistant. They cut up samples of the tissue brought it. We saw part of a colon with a tumor that was removed during surgery. The surgeon also had to remove the appendix because the tumor was so close to it.
Serrano says, "People think tissue is taken out in the operating room and goes on a slide, but there are a lot of hours of work that come in between the time it's removed to the time it's examined on a slide."
The histology technologists cover every step from tissue to slide. It starts with making sure the number and name match on the specimen container. It ends with making sure that same number matches when they have it on the glass slide.
Dr.Travers says, "It's all the steps in between; the processing of the tissue, the embedding of the tissue in the right way, the cutting of the tissue, the staining of the tissue. All of these steps are critical to an accurate diagnoses and it requires a trained consciousness professional histo technologist."
Dr. Travers says if these folks didn't do their jobs correctly, he couldn't do his which is diagnosing.
Dr. Travers says, "Precision, accuracy, checking things 3 times maybe even 4, plus the close cooperation with the pathology staff... all of these are critical to the final element in all of this and that is the correct diagnosis on the correct patient."
They don't take what they do lightly and neither should we.