Medical Laboratory Professional Week Being Held

April 23, 2018

Medical technologists are celebrating Medical Laboratory Professional Week from April 22 to April 28, with an awareness campaign being held across the island.

A spokesperson said, “Have you ever wondered what happens to your blood when you get your annual physical done? Maybe you are on medication for high cholesterol or have over or underactive thyroid. Maybe you or someone you know has sickle cell disorder or you might need antibiotics to save your life.

“Have you ever wondered who makes all of these decisions for you? Here is a hint, it is not your physician, neither is it the nurse. In fact it is your medical technologist.

“Medical technologists are members of a prestigious profession called Medical Laboratory Technology and they will be celebrating Medical Laboratory Professional Week April 22-April 28, 2018. Medical Technologists are behind the scenes “diagnosis detectives” who save lives everyday by performing a range of tests in clinical chemistry, blood banking, microbiology, immunology, immunohematology [blood bank], hematology, molecular biology/DNA testing, cytology/histology, parasitology, and mycology.

“Medical laboratory science involves diagnostic laboratory testing from A to Z. These professionals do everything from providing your cancer testing results, to predicting the correct antibiotic to prescribe, to typing the correct blood for surgery. Medical Laboratory Technology professionals provide answers to life-and-death decisions every day.”

“Here in Bermuda, there are 12 laboratories with close to 100 laboratorians on whom at least 70% of all medical decisions rely. There is a general misconception about the work that the Medical Technologists do. They are often called phlebotomists or nurses with many believing that they just push a bunch of buttons on a big machine and it spits out numbers.

“In fact, those numbers need to be interpreted by someone who decides if they are accurate before a report can be generated. The job of a Medical Technologist is to save lives through accurate and timely diagnoses.

“Ask your physician, nurse, pharmacist or biology graduate about Vitamin C acting as interference in glucose and triglyceride testing, or causes of false positives in pregnancy testing, or World Health Organization [WHO] classifications for Hodgkin disease and diagnostic criteria, or ways to test for swine flu [H1N1] and avian flu [H5N1], or genetic testing modalities for cystic fibrosis, or who is most likely to show antibodies to Kell during a STAT emergency test for life-saving blood in surgery, or any other critical laboratory test and its interpretation.

“These aspects of lab testing are generally not in the body of knowledge of any of these medical professionals, and yet it is completely in ours, the medical technologist.”

“Your health today or next year really depends on the medical technologists who give an invaluable contribution to the global healthcare systems and specifically to Bermuda. As the laboratory professionals are celebrated globally this week [April 22-28], the medical technologists in Bermuda will have an awareness campaign around the island.

“Look out for them at the City Hall/Church Street area on Tuesday and also at the Marketplace and Lindos Grocery Stores on Wednesday. Stop by their stations for a gift and to put a face to the people who help to save lives daily with the decisions they make.”

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