All processing should begin with a gross examination of the specimen. Areas with blood or mucus should be located and sampled for culture and direct examination. Stool should be examined for evidence of barium (i.e., chalky white color), which would preclude O&P examination. Notations should be made on the handwritten or electronic workcard regarding the status of the specimen (e.g., bloody, cloudy, clotted) so that if more than one person works on the sample, all microbiologists working it up will know the results of the gross examination.
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