Monday, July 23, 2012

Autopsy, special cuttings, and histology

Paraffin tissue blocks (not mine though!)
In deference to the Duke social media policy I will continue with my (maddening to some, apparently) tendency towards vagueness.

Duke's autopsy service is pretty busy, some cases come from outside hospitals and some from Duke itself. Autopsies happen and I will be present for some of them (some as the person eviscerating, some assisting a resident or staff PA, and some as the lead prosector). We have three diener's (known collectively as "The guys") who do most of the eviscerations, prep work, lung inflation, and clean up. It is very helpful to have such experienced techs, especially considering how much time the autopsy services spends training residents, med students, and PA students.

I like autopsy, in general (although the smell can be very noticeable at times)...the schedule can be irregular though. In addition to the actual autopsies, which can start any time between 8 am and 1:30 pm, there are the slide sign outs (going over the slides with the attendings). Some sign outs have more of a set schedule, but other times it is when the residents have had a chance to look over their slides and can grab an attending. There are also the special cuttings (brain, eyes, and sometimes heart if there is a reason for it) which may or may not have a regular schedule (brain definitely does) and may or may not be mandatory (eyes aren't). It just makes me worry that I'm going to miss something. But the autopsy PAs are fantastic and the residents I was with last week were so great to work with, so it was a really amazing first rotation.

This week is histology! They set aside sample tissue during preceptor week and I took my blocks down for processing on Friday. I embedded them this morning (with a break to go to a special cutting) and spent the afternoon cutting slides. I've embedded before, but this was my first time making slides. Oh my goodness, I would be the worst histotech ever! Or at least the slowest. And paraffin shavings get everywhere! The rest of the week will be spent doing special stains and studying the histology textbook.

No comments:

Post a Comment