Pâté, Anyone?


stool-sampleWord was going ’round the hospital about a stinky envelope dropped off at one of the primary care physician’s offices.

A patient was given three stool sample cards and three flat wooden sticks with which to retrieve three samples of stool from the toilet bowl. You probably know where this is going.

The aforementioned envelope contained said stool samples. When opened, fumes from said envelope caused the eyes of the primary care physician’s secretary to water and burn.

The patient had used the wooden sticks as makeshift knives to cut up pieces of stool about a half inch thick and to place these “stool samples” onto the cards.

No word on whether the stool samples were positive or negative for blood.

I think the secretary’s puke got in the way.

In case anyone gets to this post by searching “how much stool should I include on a stool sample card” … remember the old “Brylcreem” commercials?

“A Little Dab’ll Do Ya”


  1. The patient probably never wanted to have to do THAT again and so made sure there was enough to go around. 🙂

    Poor secretary. Why did she get it though and shouldn’t it have been contained in sealed plastic? Perhaps patient didn’t follow protocol?

    I had a gross experience…well a few actually..when working in ER/OP registration.

    All patient specimens used to be dropped off by the private physicians or their staff at the end of the day. Blood,urine,stool,vas deferens, multiple nevi, etc.

    Prior to OSHA standards as we know them today…we handled these things without gloves. And the specimens were just plopped down in their containers… no protective plastic.

    We had to register them using the accompanying paperwork as if they were the patient.

    One day, I picked up a container with a gazillion nevi in it, but unbeknownst to me the lid wasn’t secure…and the formaldehyde spilled all over my hands, the keyboard and the paperwork!! EWWWW! I didn’t scream though… just internally.

    So, I looked to see if any of the nevi were on my desk or in the keyboard and fortunately they were not. I snapped the lid back on and got paper towels to soak up the liquid in the keyboard as best I could. Then I washed my hands REAL good!

    And then I (with big wad of towels)sopped up the excess on desk and blotted paper and then wiped everything down with alcohol..except the paper and washed again. I told the lab tech but never told anyone else until a couple of months later,when I happened to be walking into the hospital with that surgeon. I told him about the incident. This surgeon was very particular how things were done and expected 100%. He did not look happy when I mentioned it.

    The next time I was on and his patient specimens came in..they were practically gift wrapped. Only thing missing was a bow. 🙂

    Seriously…I appreciated his efforts in seeing that specimens were contained appropriately. It took some docs and staff a little longer to comply with the OSHA standards that we all take for granted now.

    I actually have a post in drafts that may tie in to your Pate post… but I just have to get in mood to finish it. It involves something I accidentally drank a couple of weeks ago. Stomach still flip flops thinking about it. YUK!

    But I digress. 🙂

  2. Shouldn’t the envelope be labeled or something? ugh, i can’t believe you can “legally” send something like that.

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