The pathology lab is open Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, except holidays. There are three pathologists, a licensed pathologist assistant, histotechnologists, and secretarial personnel on staff.
A pathologist is always on call when the lab is closed and can be reached by calling the main number at (516) 62-MERCY.
Tissue that is removed from a patient during a procedure is examined by a pathologist. Endoscopy, colonoscopy, and surgical procedures usually have tissue sampled. The pathology laboratory processes the tissue and makes glass slides, which are identified with the patient's name and unique number. The pathologist examines the slides and makes a diagnosis of the disease, issuing a written report. This process usually takes about 24 hours, unless special studies are needed.
Sometimes during an operation the surgeon will ask the pathologist for a rapid diagnosis to further direct the surgery. The pathologist will freeze the tissue, make a glass slide, and provide a diagnosis in about 15 minutes. This will be reported to the surgeon while the patient is still in the operating room, allowing the surgeon to determine the management of the case.
Fluid or scrapings from the body are processed and examined by the pathologist, who looks at individual cells to determine if a malignancy is present or not. Gynecologic Pap smears are in this category. GYN Pap smears are not processed in this laboratory, but are sent to a reference lab. All other fluids and scrapings are examined here. The process usually takes about 24 hours.
Autopsies are performed at the request of the treating physician or the family to answer questions about the disease processes affecting the deceased patient. They are performed Monday through Friday by a pathologist with an assistant.
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