Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
I have included answers of varying levels of detail to many of the common questions I receive from our contact page as well as from review courses. A few previews are below, and the full list is on the right side of the page.
NOTE: Names and specific hospitals have been removed for confidentiality purposes, and most questions have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Antibody Panels! I'm Lost!
"Please help me! I really don't understand antibody panels, and I have an exam coming up."
When I look back at the scores of e-mails I have received at the BBGuy site, the question that eclipses all others, by a mile, is a variation on the question above! Antibody panels scare people, especially students of blood banking, and especially students of blood banking that are about to take their exams!...CLICK FOR MORE
One of the more common questions that people ask me both here and at review courses goes something like this: "You say in your notes and lecture that the most current information/research on topic A is this, but it used to be that. If they ask about topic A on the boards, should I answer with the way it used to be or the way it is now?"
In blood banking, standards and regulations change with regularity, and new research gives new insights to "old" information quite often, as well. Clearly, it is impossible for the folks writing the board questions to stay completely up-to-date with fresh or updated questions written every time something in the field changes. However, the people in charge at the American Board of Pathology are really smart and really conscientious, so stuff does get updated eventually. The problem is that there is no way for you as a test-taker to tell exactly when a question has been updated and when it is based on outdated facts, standards, or regulations...CLICK FOR MORE
I was wondering--since you said you practice a mix of AP and CP, if you knew what the job market was like for someone with both anatomic and clinical pathology training with a transfusion medicine fellowship? I really would like to do majority blood bank and lab stuff. If I had a AP/CP job, I would prefer it be something like 10% AP and 90% CP. Do these jobs exist? In your experience, what kind of "proportions" do private practice jobs typically have for AP/CP/blood bankers?
As you noted, I am indeed both an anatomic and clinical pathologist, with subspecialty boards in blood banking/transfusion medicine. I have thought about this a lot, and I think that it is indisputable that the job market for someone with AP AND CP is FAR better in the private sector than for someone who is CP only...CLICK FOR MORE
"Hey, BBGuy, can you help me understand the indications for irradiation of blood products?"
OK, I have to admit it: irradiation really is one of my favorite topics in all of transfusion medicine (which either tells you that I am really a tremendous nerd or that I am very easily amused!). A discussion about irradiation and why we do it must first involve a quick blurb on Transfusion-associated Graft versus Host Disease (TA-GVHD for short). Any time someone gets a transfusion of blood from someone who is not genetically identical to them (in other words, the donor and recipient have different HLA types), a fairly predictable series of events occurs...CLICK FOR MORE