Friday, September 2, 2011


Today I was looking at a urine. Dirty, junky urine. Catheterized. Surepath preparation. Lots of red blood cells, uric acid crystals, inflammation. I saw some atypical cells, and looked down at the paperwork, hoping maybe there was a bladder biopsy accompanying it that might help me figure it out - it would have gone to a pathologist covering surgicals and I could just call them up and ask them for correlation. I looked down - no bladder biopsy, but there was a pending case that had gone to a colleague with a source I have never seen in my 6 years of training and my three plus years of practice. It was in all caps, and it made me laugh out loud. SPECIMEN IN BEDPAN.

I called up my colleague whose name was on it - he had not yet gotten to the case so I got to break the news of what was buried amongst his stack of endometrial biopsies, breast biopsies, lung cases, etc. etc. He laughed. "Unbelievable."

Later he brought it to me - I was busy on the phone with a clinician, but he left it to me for correlation, not that it was necessary to correlate a specimen in bedpan with a urine, but we were in this thing together now. After I got off the phone and ran to read some thyroid smears, I threw the slide on the stage and looked at his sign out.

"Degenerative acellular debris with bacteria and small amounts of polarizable foreign material."

I took it back to his office and laughed. "That's the fanciest sign out for shit I've ever seen. Now I'll know how to sign that out if I ever get some."

He asked what I thought about the polarizable foreign material. "Maybe they were looking for something the patient ate?" I remembered the gross description I read, waxy yellow balls, and wondered if they just wanted to know what it was. "Who knows what they are looking for, here. Didn't some of that polarizable material look like vegetable matter? But does that even polarize?"

He shrugged his shoulders and I returned to my office. Next case.

1 comment:

Kyla said...

Haha! And also, YUCK. ;)