A recent tragedy in the UK highlighted once again the need for careful assessment of the requirements for laboratory services to patients. In this particular tragedy a mistake at the bedside of an unconscious patient was compounded by an incorrect result being given by a glucose analyser in the laboratory. The biochemist in charge of the laboratory said that a study in Glasgow had demonstrated that as many as one in ten of ‘BM-strip’ tests give inaccurate results because nurses do not follow the instructions properly. At the end of the inquest the coroner recommended a more rigorous training programme for nurses using such equipment outside the laboratory.
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