Expected answer: E – Shipped August 13, 2018


The challenge was sent to category A, C, and C1 laboratories. The following scenario was presented to participants:

You receive a bacteriology requisition for a throat swab sample culture after hours from a clinic or physicians office. However, you receive a tissue sample not a throat swab. The name and identifying information on the tissue sample is correctly labelled with the patient’s name and medical number, which matches the name and medical number on the requisition. You phone the clinic/ doctor’s office for clarification of the sample and requisition.  No one is available, but you leave a message. You do not receive a return phone call for the rest of the evening. How would you proceed?

A. You process the sample as a tissue sample and send a preliminary report

B. You process the sample as a throat swab and send a preliminary report

C. You reject the sample as an inappropriate sample

D. You discuss with the Director/Manager/Supervisor when she/he returns to the laboratory the following day.

E. You do not process or accession the sample, but place it in the refrigerator to phone the clinic or doctor’s office again the next morning.


  1. With the inability to garner further information necessary for the making the correct judgement and determination, the laboratory should hold on to the sample for an additional 12-18 hours and once armed with more and valid information, make the right decision rather than a best guess.

Full critique (PDF)

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