“Discharged, deteriorating or deceased?”

I have always been a big believer in the philosophy that the importance of a microbiological result is inversely proportional to the time taken to produce that result. (check out this post).

On occasion extra work and time does need to go into a sample in order to produce a “complete report”. But how do we decide when such work is necessary? A large part of this decision should depend on the current status of the patient.

There is not much point in doing a viral PCR panel on the CSF of a patient who has recovered from his meningitis and has gone home.

On the other hand it may well be worthwhile working up that Klebsiella spp. in the sputum of a patient who has gone downhill and is heading towards ICU.

…and there probably is not much point sweating over the borderline susceptibility of an E.coli to co-amoxyclav when the patient has unfortunately passed on.

The clinical status of a patient often changes from day to day. The more the scientists know about the current condition of the patient whose sample they are working on, the more appropriate the laboratory work-up will be.

The laboratory/clinical interface needs to be as seamless as possible….


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