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What Should We Do?: Transporting tubes from isolation rooms

by Dennis Ernst • September 01, 2017

Biobag2Question: If a patient is in isolation, what is the proper way to transport your tubes of blood out of the patient room once contaminated PPE is removed?  

Our response: The consensus in the published literature and among OSHA consultants is that standard precautions, if diligently applied, should protect everyone. However, samples removed from an isolation room are often recommended to be placed inside a separate bag for transport. Some encase them in the gloves as the gloves are removed, but we're not fond of that practice. If the patient has MRSA, why transport MRSA-contaminated gloves back to the laboratory along with the tubes, similarly contaminated on the outside? Contaminated gloves and other PPE should stay in the room. We recommend a clean isolation bag for samples labeled with the biohazard icon. Textbooks and CLSI agree.

The latest revision of the CLSI venipuncture standard contains detailed instructions on drawing blood in isolation rooms. It states only the necessary supplies should be brought into the room, and tubes should be decontaminated before leaving if required by facility policy. Tubes should then be placed in a secondary container, such as a sealable plastic bag for transport to the testing facility.

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