Lab Roles & Responsibilities
Many people are responsible to help patients get the care they need and deserve. The Metro Health lab is staffed by a number of people with different responsibilities and areas of expertise.
Phlebotomists are the face of the lab. They’re responsible for collecting specimens from patients and properly labeling them for testing. Phlebotomists must have the knowledge to collect the correct specimens in the proper manner, but they must also have the personality to care directly for patients during what can be a very intimidating process.
Those working in the blood bank determine the blood type of a patient and what blood would be compatible if the patient requires a transfusion. Blood- typing is a very common and important part of pregnancy; both pre- and post-natal. Blood-typing is performed on infants to diagnose conditions concerning the differences between a mother and baby’s blood types.
Chemistry technicians evaluate specimens as they come in for testing and determine whether the specimens are appropriate for the tests ordered. They’re also responsible for the proper care and maintenance of their instruments to ensure accurate results are given as quickly as possible.
Hematology concerns diseases of the blood and is also used routinely to indicate general wellness. The most common Hematology test is the Complete Blood Count (CBC). This test is essential if anemia, infection, leukemia or bleeding is suspected. The hematology department is also responsible for running urinalysis and coagulation tests. Coagulation refers to tests that are commonly performed before a patient has surgery to screen for a possible bleeding risk.
The Microbiology department is primarily concerned with the identification of micro-organisms that cause infection and determining which agents will assist in the treatment of the infection. This department is also responsible for rapid testing methods for common viral and bacterial pathogens such as influenza or strep throat.
This department is a broad and rapidly growing field that encompasses everything from genetic testing for inherited forms of cancer to diagnosis of sexually-transmitted infections. This field will become more important as we discover more ways to use the genetic codes of the human body.
Cytotechnologists analyze cellular samples from all over the body by “screening” each slide, looking at hundreds or thousands of cells, to determine a change in cells that could signal disease. This is commonly used to screen for cancer, but they also diagnose pre-cancerous and benign conditions.
Histology is the study of tissues. Tissues are taken from the body and processed after being placed in paraffin wax and thinly sliced. These slices are stained to they can be reviewed and lead to a diagnosis.
A pathologist is a physician who examines tissues to determine if a disease is present. Pathologists also assist surgeons during operations by providing immediate diagnoses on biopsies as appropriate.