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Case Study 6

It is 11:00 PM and the specimen processing department is finishing up the night's accessioning and test order entry. A specimen processor is working on a requisition that has an order for a Hepatic Profile but there are two tubes of blood with the order, one of which is a lavender top tube. This is the fourth requisition from this same doctor's office and all of them have had a lavender top tube and serum tube with an order for a chemistry test and a CBC. No CBC is marked on the requisition or written on the tube. The specimen processor figures the office just forgot to mark the test and knows that the results will be delayed and the sample might not be any good if he doesn't order the CBC now. He is also under pressure from the technical departments to finish processing on time so they can get their work done on time for result printing in the morning. What should the processor do?

Correct Answer: Look up the laboratory's policy for handling such a situation and follow the policy.

Discussion: The laboratory is not permitted to change a doctor's order in any way. By ordering the CBC the processor is ordering a test that the doctor did not specifically order and therefore makes the laboratory subject to a violation of the False Claims Act. By reviewing and following the laboratory policy, the processor assures that the laboratory, the physician, and the patient's best interests are met.