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Changing the lives of patients one diagnosis at a time

The week of April 11, 2022, is National medical laboratory week!

When we think about medical laboratories, we often think of automated technology doing all the work. It’s true, technology has helped advance the medical field but medical technologists still play an essential role in diagnosing and treating patients, as well as delivering high-level care. 

The important role of medical technologists

Dr. Margaret Warner, Hematologist and OPTILAB medical chief of Hematology, knows first-hand how crucial the precision, skill and experience of medical technologists can be in diagnosing patients. “Not too long ago, the trauma team treated a very sick young man following a skiing accident. The patient complained of severe abdominal pain and underwent an urgent laparotomy,” she says. “At the time of surgery, increased abdominal fluid was discovered and was sent to the laboratory for analysis, one of the tests being morphology.”

“We are lucky to have highly trained, experienced technologists who routinely review these slides under the microscope looking for abnormalities in cells, often with subtle changes differentiating normal from abnormal,” says Dr. Warner. “This particular fluid was reviewed by one of our technologists who detected abnormal cells and alerted the team immediately. This quick but precise observation led to a series of other tests and a rapid diagnosis of lymphoma.” Thanks to the skill and expertise of the medical technologist on duty this young man received the proper diagnosis and timely treatment. 

Using skill and experience to contribute to diagnosing a patient

For Dr. Warner, this story is a perfect example of the essential role medical technologists play. “I believe in the critical need for the skill sets of all our multidisciplinary teams including doctors, nurses and all our allied health professionals. Laboratory technologists, though, are often the unsung heroes in that multidisciplinary team,” recognizes Dr. Warner. “These dedicated and extremely talented individuals work in our morphology laboratories, blood bank, coagulation, flow cytometry and HLA labs, just to name a few. Without them, we could not deliver the accurate and timely diagnostics needed for our patients.”

“This week, I would like everyone to sing the praises of these wonderful, dedicated individuals who are critical personnel in our multidisciplinary family,” says Dr. Warner.

Happy National Medical Technologist week to our lab technologists who work diligently and with very specialized skills behind the scenes.

Watch the video for National medical laboratory week now: