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American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31828d68b2
Review Article

Requesting Toxicological Specimens From Tissue Procurement Organizations

Trim, Robert S. MBA, RN, CTBS*; Jentzen, Jeff MD, PhD; Penn, Genevieve RN, ABMDI

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Abstract

Opinions based on toxicology results are dependent, in part, upon the quality of the specimen’s acquisition, storage, and chain of custody. The responsibility for these factors is often delegated to tissue and eye bank technicians. These technicians are not employees of the medical examiner (ME)’s office and may have no documented training related to the proper acquisition and handling of retained toxicology specimens. Medical examiners and coroners often request tissue recovery technicians to provide them with these toxicology samples when the tissue recovery is performed before autopsy. This practice helps facilitate donation and is convenient for the ME, but there may be unexpected implications for both the technicians and the ME that deserve further consideration. This article highlights the relevant issues in the postmortem recovery of biological samples for toxicology analysis and makes recommendations for the practice.

Copyright © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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