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a. General. Stool specimens are collected and examined for a variety of reasons including to determine the presence of infection or hemorrhage; to observe the amount, color, consistency, and presence of fats; and to identify parasites, ova, and bacteria. The medical nurse collects the feces, labels the specimen appropriately, and sends the specimen and laboratory request to the laboratory. Stool to be examined for parasites must be taken immediately to the laboratory in order for parasites to be examined under the microscope while alive. A stool specimen may also be collected from a colostomy or ileostomy.

b. Important Points.

(1) The medical specialist must know what type stool specimen is ordered and how to collect the specimen.

(2) Make certain the patient understands what is expected, and provide patient safety.

(3) A specimen to be examined for ova and parasites must be taken to the laboratory while still warm. Other stool specimens may be kept at room temperature.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015