<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> MGH Lab Handbook - Acute Care Laboratory

DIRECTOR: James G. Flood, Ph.D.

The Acute Care Laboratory is operated 24 hours/day, 7 days a week to service all acutely and critically ill patients. Tests currently provided by the laboratory include:

  • Blood Gases (pO2, pCO2)
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Methemoglobin
  • pH
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Ionized Calcium
  • Hemoglobin
  • Osmolality
  • Blood Glucose
  • Gastric Occult Blood, Gastric pH
  • Fetal fibronectin

The Acute Care Laboratory is the central hospital laboratory for blood gas analysis, and this service is available to all patients. The other tests provided are restricted to acutely and critically ill patients. Routine tests should be sent to the appropriate hospital laboratory.

Specimen Collection

Each specimen container must be labeled with the patient’s name and unit number, and must be accompanied by a completed requisition, containing the following information:
1. Patient’s full name and unit number.
2. Location and telephone number of care unit from which sample originated. In addition, please indicate the patient’s original or future care unit if the sample was sent from a transient unit (i.e., operating room, recovery room, etc.). The latter is required so that printed reports may be inserted into the patient’s record.
3. Physician’s name.
4. Type of specimen.
5. Date and time of day specimen was drawn.
6. Initials of person who drew the specimen.
7. Inspired oxygen concentration (FIO2) and temperature, whenever blood gases are requested.
8. Test required.

Specimen Delivery

Specimens may be sent via the pneumatic tube system. Check the station chart at the tube station for the correct station number in your zone (listed as STAT LAB). All samples are considered STAT and are processed immediately upon arrival. Arrest samples should be designated as such on the requisition, and these will be given priority. If hand delivered, the carrier should verbally communicate the urgency to the technologist at the receiving window.


All results are reported directly to the care unit either by computer or by telephone.

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This page last updated on April 13, 2005