Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $121,236)
The Hamilton County Histology laboratory serves residents in eight counties in southern Ohio. Since the onset of opioid deaths four years ago, its histology
laboratory workload has increased, leaving little time to do special staining of slides needed to determine cause of death. As a result, histology work has a four-to six
week backlog, and the special stains are being sent to outside laboratories for completion. This is in violation of the National Association of Medical
Examiners (N.A.M.E.) certifications in-laboratory requirements. However, as the only histologist in the laboratory, and sectioning 1,000 tissue blocks above the
amount allowed by N.A.M.E., there is little choice but to send the specials stain slides outside the laboratory.
This laboratory is currently using an automatic autopsy tissue processor it purchased in 1994 which has an on-board cycle counter that has become unreliable and
tissue fixation quality has begun to vary. Prior to sending out special stains this work was completed on the counter top often using a microwave in the process.
A Coverdell award will enable the laboratory to purchase a new Autopsy Tissue Processor with a live on-board diagnostics program that will automatically
prompt the instrument to exchange solutions and do validation while the program is in progress. A new processor will increase the consistency of the tissue in the lab
processes making it easier to achieve an increase in slide productivity. The goal is to get the caseload down to at least a two-week turnaround time which is a
reasonable waiting period for tissue slides.
This award will also be used to buy a new Special Stains Stainer and the corresponding reagent kits needed to get the instrument started. With this new automation,
the tech can load the slide and let the equipment do the validating and staining. In addition to being able to complete the work inside the laboratory, the technician
will be able to increase the special stains turn-around time, eliminating the time it takes to transport slides to outside laboratories and bring the laboratory current
with the N.A.M.E. in-lab staining requirement.