18 July 2024 (Thursday) - BTLP-TACT Exercise

Time for another BTLP-TACT exercise. I was presented with two cases:
87818 – a fifty-year-old chap in the outpatient department needing group & save.
The ABO group was inconclusive, but the RH(D) group was negative.
The antibody screen was positive in cells 1 & 2 so I requested antibody panels. The IAT and enzyme panels were positive in cells 1, 2 and 3 corresponding with anti-D but not excluding anti-Cw.
48596 – a fifty-one-year-old woman also in the outpatient department needing two units of blood. Sadly the NHS number on the blood sample was completely different from that on the accompanying form so I rejected the request.
I got the green light.
Mind you, I find myself wondering just how much use this simulator is to me. It doesn’t really simulate what I do at work on a daily basis. If I make a mistake at work (which we all do from time to time) I would be mortified, and fret about it for weeks. However I get this thing right with a sense of serious achievement and amazement.

18 July 2025 (Thursday) - Oncology Central Update

The most recent Oncology Central newsletter appeared in my in-box this morning. You can read it by clicking here. I had a wry smile at the bit about acupuncture having a role in modern medicine. Back in the day this would have been laughed out. Nowadays people would seem to be doing what science should be about – seeing that something happens and finding out why rather than just laughing because it doesn’t fit the theory.
To be honest this is something of which I am guilty. We all know that dowsing is a load of rubbish and has absolutely no basis in science… it really annoys me that I can do it.

17 July 2024 (Wednesday) - Auer Rods

I was mooching about on the Facebook Haematology Interest Group when I found their archive of case studies. Here’s an interesting one – a particularly strange case of AML with Auer rods in the mature neutrophils. 


15 July 2024 (Monday) - BTLP-TACT Exercise

Time for another BTLP-TACT exercise. I was presented with two cases:

62583 – a forty-nine year-old woman in out-patients needing a pre-operative group & save.She grouped as A Rh(D) Positive with a negative antibody screen

11943 – a twenty-four year-old chap in A&E needing two units of blood within the hour. He grouped as O Rh(D) Positive with antibody screen positive in cells 1 & 3. I requested antibody panels.  

The IAT panel was positive in cells 1, 3, 6, 9 & 10 corresponding with anti-Fy(a) but not excluding anti Cw or anti-Lu(a). The enzyme panel was negative throughout. According to BTLP-TACT this excludes anti Cw or anti-Lu(a)

I selected two units of ORh(D) blood that were Fy(a) negative

I got the green light.

15 July 2024 (Monday) - Gaucher's Disease

#LearningMonday… continuing being a reactionary old fart, I hate hashtags. But I do like the Learning Monday idea. This one was a good one… which is the most unlikely diagnosis. Initially I plumped for PNH as it is a disease of older people.
But… Gaucher’s disease… what’s that?
There’s a Wikipedia entry on the condition here. I know that proper science sneers at Wikipedia, but as a starting point it is hard to beat. Apparently Gaucher’s disease is one in which glucocerebroside accumulates in cells and certain organs… one of the places it accumulates is in macrophages which have a distinctive appearance in bone marrow smears… and to complicate the issue there are also pseudo-Gaucher cells.
I learned something here…


12 July 2024 (Friday) - UKAS Update

The nice people at the UK Accreditation Service sent their update today. You can read it by clicking here. On the one hand the reactionary old fart in me thinks it is a load of blah-blah-blah. On the other hand I realise that regardless of what I might think, UKAS has a bigger bearing on my professional life than any other body. Like it or lump it, this is the way forward. And like it or lump it I am better off being aware of what they are up to and what they are suggesting.
The biggest problem with their updates is that they say a lot without saying very much. What exactly is an ISO standard, and what is a mistaken interpretation of an overworked assessor?
The cynic in me would take them far more seriously if they openly published their standards rather than demanding one hundred and sixty quid for a copy of them.

10 July 2024 (Wednesday) - IBMS Update

The IBMS sent their newsletter for members today. You can read it by clicking here.
It made me think. Though not about that which CPD should make me think. The whole point of CPD is that I learn something new, or find that what I thought was good practice isn’t.
Over the years I’ve come to realise that I *don’t* get this from my professional body. Again the IBMS newsletter was all about what people have done and who is on what committee. This month the IBMS sent out all sorts of awards, and as I have said many times before, singling one out for praise cheapens the efforts of thousands who have done the same but gone unrecognized.
My first on-line rant about this subject was nearly eighteen years ago – click here and look up 13 September 2006, and I ranted along similar lines on 4 January 2007.
My thoughts right now are that it costs me sixteen quid a month to be a member of the IBMS and now that they don’t offer professional indemnity insurance I really have to ask what I get for my money.
There’s reflection, eh?