Specimen Handling

The quality of the test results reported by the laboratory is dependent upon proper patient preparation and collection, handling, and transport of specimens. Test specific specimen requirements are listed in the Directory of Services. The suggested specimen volume allows for testing and repeat testing when necessary. Insufficient specimen quantities may be cause for rejection of the specimen. Specimens should be stored at refrigerator temperatures (2-8° C) unless otherwise noted. Specific requirements related to cytology, histology (surgical pathology), microbiology, industrial and forensic toxicology are outlined in those sections. If the directions are unclear, or if you have any questions regarding proper specimen handling, please call DGL Client Services.

Adherence to the blood borne pathogen standard set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will reduce exposure to HIV, hepatitis, and other blood borne pathogens when collecting and transporting specimens.

In order to prevent needle stick injuries, specimens collected in syringes must not be transported with the needle attached. The needle must be removed with the use of a mechanical device and a cap should be placed on the syringe prior to transport to the laboratory. Alternately, the sample can be transferred to a sterile container if appropriate. Specimens should always be placed in leak proof containers and transported in sealed specimen bags to avoid exposure from leakage or breakage.