Monthly Archives: May 2016

“On Sale Now”


Just to let you know that this book is now on sale. Just click on this link

The price of the book covers the printing, publishing and shipping costs, with a bit of a discount for those wanting to buy more than one copy.

I got 200 books printed as a 1st edition, and have donated about 20 copies. So there is about 180 left to sell. I have no idea how well or how badly they will sell, I will just have to wait and see…

I have never sold anything in my life before!, so hopefully it will go smoothly. Just let me know if you encounter any problems.

As a clinical microbiology book (as you are probably aware, this is not a textbook in the classical sense of the word) it is probably quite unique. There is unlikely to have been a similar book published before, and probably never will be again!

To those people who decide to buy a copy, for themselves or their laboratory, many thanks. It is much appreciated. For those who decide not to, no problem whatsoever.

This will be the last post dedicated to this book. Normal service will resume with the next post!



“Storing up your compliments”


For accreditation purposes, we are required to keep records of all the complaints we receive into the microbiology laboratory, but not the compliments…

Every so often, someone will give you, or the laboratory, a pat on the back for a piece of good work you have done. This compliment can of course be verbal, by email or by letter.

I would advise you to store the compliments for a rainy/stormy day…

Not only does it balance out the complaints, but I think it is actually very important.

If you are innovating, making changes, and pushing the boundaries of the laboratory practice of microbiology, you can be sure someone will have a real go at you at some point in time. It is completely inevitable. That is when it is nice to have a ‘compliment box’, to objectively demonstrate that not everyone has the same opinion of you/your laboratory as your complainant.

So sitting beside my “Complaints” folder in Microsoft Outlook, I also have a “Compliments” folder, ready to be dug into whenever it is required. Admittedly my Compliments folder is not as big as my Complaints folder! Actually I don’t mind this at all. If the compliments I received were more numerous than the complaints, I would be worried that I was not being innovative enough and simply concerned with trying to keep everybody happy…


“Hot Chocolate”


We have been playing around for a while now, looking for the “best” way to rapidly identify isolates from positive blood cultures. 

First of all we had a look at FISH (Fluorescent In-Situ Hybridisation). This was accurate, and pretty quick, but for the volumes of positive blood cultures that we process, even in a fairly big lab, it was somewhat on the expensive side.

We then had a look at MALDI-ToF based “centrifugation” methods. We dabbled with the Bruker sepsityper, or at least “home brew” versions thereof… This was quickish, but quite labour intensive, and to be honest a bit tedious. Nevertheless pick-up rates were good, particularly for Gram negative organisms.

However now that we have the Kiestra TLA in place, I think we are going to settle for the “Hot Chocolate” method. This involves inoculating an aliquot from a positive blood culture on to a pre-warmed chocolate agar, incubating for a pre-programmed 6 hours on the Kiestra system, and then performing an immediate MALDI-ToF on the plate colonies.

OK, so it is not quite as quick as FISH or Sepsityper, but it is cost-effective, does not require a lot of manual input, and it is a service that we can provide 24 hours a day.

Realistic solutions always involve some degree of compromise…