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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Roberta B. Carey, PhD (Loyola University Medical Center)
Description: This short text provides instructions for the proper selection and collection of specimens sent for microbiologic examination and culture.
Purpose: The purpose is to educate those who collect specimens so that they may obtain the best material for culture and transport it to the laboratory in the most appropriate manner. The clinician can only obtain clinically relevant results from a quality specimen, which is a very important concept in this current climate of cost-effective health care.
Audience: The book addresses "every member of the health care team," the doctors, nurses, aides and laboratorians, who work in concert to provide quality patient care. Each section has guidelines stating for whom it is most pertinent. The author is a knowledgeable clinical microbiologist who works at the Centers for Disease Control as well as a hospital consultant.
Features: Most information is presented as step-by-step protocols with tables to summarize the procedures. Some techniques are illustrated by black-and-white photographs or drawings. Both the microorganisms being cultured and the specimen sites being sampled are listed in the index. The book is a small paperback that can be kept in the specimen processing area or on the patient floor for easy reference. Reasons for specimen rejection are well written and they include statements that may be attached to patient reports covering a wide range of problems.
Assessment: The book emphasizes the importance of communication between the clinician and the laboratory. The more specific the information the clinician can provide about the specimen site and the patient, the more appropriately the lab can culture and interpret the results. This practical text hopes to educate those procuring specimens, a topic that does not receive much time in the medical school curriculum, but one that is paramount when faced with real patients with infectious diseases.