Skip to Content

PACKAGING & TRANSPORTING SPECIMENS TO THE LABORATORY

All specimens must be handled according to procedures and policies established for standard precautions in University of Colorado Hospital.

University  of Colorado Hospital Inpatients and Outpatients

The specimen processing area of the laboratory is responsible for receiving blood and body fluid specimens for clinical testing for inpatients and outpatients of University of Colorado Hospital.

The Client Services area is responsible for receiving blood specimens and body fluids from off-campus clients using the laboratories for referral testing.

The Clinical Laboratory does not handle nor transport Anatomical Specimens. All cytology, surgical, and other anatomical specimens, and inquiry regarding these are the responsibility of the University of Colorado Denver Department of Pathology. Please go to UCD Department of Pathology and click "Clinical Services" for specimen submission guidelines.

If any unit or clinic bypasses the Specimen Processing area to send or take a specimen to an outside laboratory directly, the hospital/laboratory will not pay the laboratory for the test requested.

Packaging

Refer to “Specimen Integrity” policy on the UCH HUB Policies & Procedures web page for detailed instructions.

The primary container for all specimens must be leak-proof and must contain the patient’s name and medical record number. Ensure that lids of containers are secure.

Each specimen must be placed inside a secondary container for transport. The secondary container is a securely sealed ziplock plastic bag labeled with the biohazard symbol described below.

Exception: Blood, blood components, or blood products that are labeled as to their contents and have been released for transfusion or other clinical use are exempted from this requirement.

Plastic bags with the biohazard symbol are obtained from Materials Management (item number 10897), or in small amounts from the Clinical Laboratory.

Limit contents to one patient’s samples per bag.

Paper lab requests, if used, should be placed in the external sleeve of the bag or attached to the outside of the bag.

The laboratory will not accept or process specimens with exposed needles or sheathed needles attached. The lab will not accept urine or fluids in paper containers.

Click here for special instructions for labeling, packaging and transport of specimens from patients with known or suspected CJD or other prion disease.

Transport

Refer to “Specimen Integrity” policy on the UCH HUB Policies & Procedures web page for detailed instructions.

Specimens may be delivered to the laboratory by:

I. The pneumatic tube system

  • USE SPECIALLY PADDED CARRIERS ONLY.
  • DO NOT OVERLOAD.
  • ENSURE THAT SPECIMEN CONTAINERS AND TRANSPORT BAGS ARE SECURELY SEALED. DOUBLE-BAG URINE SPECIMEN CONTAINERS.
  • ENSURE THAT THE LATCH ON THE CARRIER IS SECURELY CLOSED.
  • DO NOT USE THE TUBE SYSTEM FOR SPECIMENS FROM PATIENTS WITH KNOWN OR SUSPECTED CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB OR OTHER PRION DISEASE.

II. Delivering directly to the laboratory

  • Leprino Building (LB) Room 253
  • AIP Room 2.370 for Transfusion Service specimens only

III. Calling Transport

If using the pneumatic tube system to transport blood cultures, place green top in separate plastic bag toward the “necks” of the bottles. DO NOT SEND MORE THAN ONE BLOOD CULTURE SET PER CARRIER.

For problems with the pneumatic tube system, please call Engineering Services.