One of the most useful ‘tests’ in clinical microbiology is the Gram’s stain named after Hans Christian Gram from Copenhagen, Denmark.
This differential staining technique is one of the most important things we do in the clinical microbiology laboratory.
Unfortunately because of newer technology, e.g., fancy chromogenic media, latex agglutination, MALDI-TOF and nucleic acid amplification assays simple things like a wet preparation and a Gram’s stain are being done less often. A “wet prep” and a “Gram” are quick and easy and tell you so much about what is growing on a plate. That said, the newer technologies are ‘must haves’ in any modern clinical microbiology laboratory. I am so impressed with the value of the MALDI-TOF.
Last week I started with seeing a Gram’s stain consistent with Vincent’s angina and finished the day seeing gonococci in a female genital specimen from a patient with an interesting clinical history. I smiled all night thinking about how cool my day was.