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Get out your no. 2 pencils, class.

A couple of college students who started their end-of-semester partying a little early soon realized they had completely missed their final exams. To try and salvage their chances of being graduated on time, they appealed to one professor with the following story: The one student was called away to a neighboring state because of an ailing parent, and the other student went along to share the driving. On their rush home to take their finals, they got a flat tire, and that's why they missed their test.

Unsure if their story would be bought by the professor, they were relieved to hear he would give them a make-up exam if they were willing to take an impromptu test right on the spot. "Sure," they said, agreeing to take the test in separate rooms. A moment later the professor handed each of them a single sheet of paper with a hand-scrawled two-part essay exam. The first question asked for a brief description of the semester's highlights.

Referring to their explanation of why they were late, the second question asked simply: "Which tire went flat?"

Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Take, for instance, the lead item in our annual "NewsMakers of the Year" feature (p. 28) on "Gen-ethics." The ability to create a human genetic map is awe-inspiring, but can that knowledge base blow up in our faces, too? Bernard E. Statland, MD, PhD, examines this question in what is arguably one of the most eagerly anticipated projects of our time. He asks what are the ethical implications of the advancement of medical genetic testing: each reader must answer this question for him - or herself.

If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, should no knowledge be a punishable offense? Our second "NewsMakers" item reflects on the Supreme Court of New Jersey's ruling to uphold a negligence suit against the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). The AABB was held liable for a lack of knowledge the Court said it "should have had" years earlier.

On the other hand, not all test-taking has to be a frightening experience. For our third "NewsMakers" item, C. Anne Pontius, MT-(ASCP), CLS(NCA), explains how, thanks to new CLIA survey processes, laboratories in good standing now will be allowed to survey themselves, as well as reduce the actual survey time when an on-site inspection is called for.

Moreover, MLO did its own share of survey-taking with this issue's "Automation in the laboratory" study (p. 38). Written by contributing editor Marcia Ringel, our exclusive nationwide survey reveals more than 90% of laboratories are at least partially automated, suggesting the profession has embraced the wonderful world of mechanization. As one of our respondents from a nonprofit hospital lab in Ohio told us, "Automation will help your lab grow into the future, increase your ability to expand test menus, reduce TAT, and improve patient care overall - which is the bottom line." This exhaustive survey reports when and how much labs across the country have become automated, and in exactly what ways. It should prove to be a real education.

Finally, as a sort of "cheat-sheet" for '96, if you need to locate any MLO article or select departments, you can refer to our Annual Index (p. 54), broken out by subject, author, Management Q&A, and Tips from the Clinical Experts categories.

Now, if you're ready, open the magazine and let's begin. But be prepared: I could hit you with a pop quiz at any time.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Medical Laboratory Observer's annual 'NewsMakers of the Year'
Author:Zacharia, Mark
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 1, 1996
Words:581
Previous Article:The effect of CLIA '88 and managed care on the medical lab market.
Next Article:Familiar issues await lab industry in '97.
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