What's Your Favorite Archaic Test?
As a student, one of my professors prided himself on being a CLS historian of sorts. He would regale us with tales of old tests, methods, instruments and innovative efforts to make do under trying circumstances. In our eyes, he was the McGiver of CLS! When we did our clinicals at the local hospital he showed us the tank out back where they used to keep frogs for doing pregnancy tests. He had an old Natelson blood gas instrument, a colorimeter with removable glass filters, and insisted that we do methods manually to comprehend the principle before we took the "easy route" of automation.
Most recent grads today cannot even fathom taking all day to perform fecal fats or doing a batch of enzymes with stopwatch and a water bath. If you talk about the need for producing a protein-free filtrate, you would most likely get a "huh?" In fact, now watching an instrument take 15 minutes to churn out a result is way too long! I am fascinated by details of old tests, old instruments and making do in the early years of your practice.
Please share some of those old stories with us here. I know there are some old-timers out there still practicing medicines who find it hard to relinquish an old test that has outlived its usefulness. In an article I read recently, expert laboratorians, not surprisingly, gave the boot to LE Cells, Schilling Test, FTI, Bence Jones Protein and others.
They also fingered more controversial tests like ESR, LDH, AST and even CKMB for being superseded by more specific tests in recent years, What do you think? I am also interested in hearing what is your "favorite" (or most annoying) useless test requested in your lab currently or fairly recently?