News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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More Unwelcome News Coverage About Lab Testing Problems as Ice Cream, Clinical Laboratories, and Public Health Labs Get National Media Scrutiny

Houston newspaper breaks story about failure of many medical laboratories to report certain test results to public health laboratories, thus delaying investigations of disease outbreaks

Once again, problems with the existing system of medical laboratory testing made national news. This time, the key players were a maker of ice cream, clinical laboratories, and public health laboratories.

It was a Houston newspaper that first reported a pattern of failures in how clinical laboratories and public health laboratories communicate as clinical labs identify patients who tested positive for listeriosis, a bacterial infection most commonly caused by Listeria monocytogenes. These test results were associated with the recent listeriosis outbreak that was connected to Blue Bell ice cream.

Blue Bell, Listeria, and Lab Failures

On July 18, 2015, the Houston Chronicle reported on David Philip Shockley. He is a retirement community administrator who believes he contracted listeriosis by eating Blue Bell ice cream. (more…)

Medical Laboratories at Hospitals Urged to Improve Newborn Screening Procedures After Wisconsin Report Uncovers Shocking Testing Delays

Analysis of almost 3 million newborn blood samples found that tens of thousands of specimens were not screened promptly for rare but deadly disorders, leading to patient harm in some cases

State-mandated newborn testing has come under increased media scrutiny following the discovery that delays in reporting the clinical laboratory test results had resulted in harm to some children with genetic diseases. One source of problems is some hospitals fail to promptly submit specimens from babies to their state’s newborn testing laboratory.

In Wisconsin, pathologists and medical laboratory and laboratory managers probably know the story of Colton Hidde because of news stories about his case. When Karen and Mike Hidde brought their newborn baby Colton home from the hospital after his birth in October 2012, they had no idea that he would soon be close to death. He appeared to be a normal newborn. But he was not, and the Hiddes didn’t find out that he had a rare and life-threatening genetic defect until they rushed him back to the hospital less than 24 hours after bringing him home. (more…)

Parents Outraged at Warehousing of DNA Saved from Newborn Baby Screening Programs and Used for Clinical Laboratory Testing

After Laboratory Tests are Conducted, Newborn Screening Cards are Saved for Research

For decades, pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists have been part of a seemingly innocuous public health practice begun in the 1960s: newborn blood testing. Now, because of recent advances in genetic tests and molecular diagnostics, growing numbers of parents are concerned about how the government handles the DNA of their newborn babies.

Laboratories and clinical data warehouse facilities across the nation are in possession of millions of cards, each which carries spots of heel-prick blood taken from a newborn baby. These cards contain the samples used to perform laboratory tests required by law to screen newborn infants for a number of devastating genetic diseases. This screening identifies about 5,000 babies each year that require early treatment appropriate to their condition to minimize or prevent damage or even death.