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General notes edit

Author: Mikael Häggström [notes 1]
Save phone numbers to pertinent seniors so that you can contact them in urgent situations.


On this resource, the following formatting is used for comprehensiveness:

  • Minimal depth
  • (Moderate depth)
  • ((Comprehensive))

When to ask

For grossing, general factors for asking for assistance include:

  • Unfamiliarity with the specimen type at hand.
  • Malignancy risk of the case.
  • Inability to retake sections in case the first ones are insufficient:
  • A risk of irreversibility of any processing, such as inability to perform special tests by putting it in formalin.
  • Low redundancy of tissue at hand, such as very small pieces of relevant tissue.
  • Low accessibility in obtaining the specimen at hand, such as through deep surgery or imaging-based biopsy.[notes 2]

What do ask for

When consulting a senior, generally read up on the medical history and(/or) operative report of the patient. What you generally want to know are:

  • If taking a slide tray with you, don't forget the slide on your microscope.
  • ((Is the office door open, and if so, how much? Generally leave it the same way on the way out.))
  • The pathology issues at hand.
  • If you are given information for writing a pathology report, what will you do after writing it in the system? Save, sign or notify them otherwise?

Getting in touch with clinicians

Ask the referring doctor for clarification whenever needed for your diagnosis. In more emergent situations:

  1. Look at the referral for any number to call.
  2. If intraoperative, call the operating room number.
  3. Call the hospital switch to connect you with the referring doctor.

In less emergent situations, you may also try the following:

  • Consider texting the person rather than call (and use case/patient number rather than identifiable information if not using an appropriately encrypted connection).
  • For inpatients, find out from for example medical records where the patient is located, call the hospital switch to connect you with that location, even if with a nurse or other caregiver, and ask that person for the phone number to the referring doctor, or other person in charge of the patient.


  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Patholines:Authorship for details.
  2. Low accessibility is associated with both a higher risk of malignancy (enough to motivate extensive methods for obtaining the specimen) and irreversibility (as it would be difficult to retake a specimen in case the first one does not result in an adequate diagnosis).

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