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Student incompetent at pipetting

By Susan Anderson, October 23 2014 —

On Tuesday, Oct. 21, second-year chemistry major Jason Lampman broke all sense of laboratory decency when he pipetted his 6 mol sodium hydroxide by mouth.

Lang is currently in a coma at Foothills Hospital suffering from toxic shock with severe burns to his mouth and esophagus.

“I knew something was up when the lab began,” said his lab partner, Hanna Segraw. “He was anxious and said, ‘I can’t believe this lab procedure.’ I couldn’t tell what he was talking about. I mean, he seemed a little bit off from the start.”

After about 30 minutes of work, the instructor told the class to retrieve the sodium hydroxide for the titration. Lampman walked over to the big stock container and just sucked it up like milk through a straw.

“I saw him put his face close and I didn’t really know what he was doing. But then he started sucking on it like a straw, and then he pulled back with a look of pain as the base slowly burned his mouth,” Segraw said. “Like, what an idiot. Even tenth grade biology students know not to do something that moronic.”

Lampman was treated promptly for poisoning by university staff and rushed to Foothills Hospital. Teaching assistant Derek Adamson, who was supposed to supervise Lampman, said he didn’t think anyone could be so dim.

“I get spilling base on your hands, or catching something on fire. I think the worst I’ve seen is someone getting a few drops in their eye. But who would just go and suck up base? And how did he get it into his mouth? That’s not even how you would pipette by mouth,” Adamson said.

University safety regulations are in place to ensure that every student knows not to pipette by mouth. There are signs on the walls of the lab and it is mentioned several times in safety manuals. Technicians are still trying to figure out why he would make such an error.

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