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Getting Results: MLPW April 23-29

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 23-29, was an annual celebration that recognizes the critical role provided by laboratory professionals in delivering accurate, reliable and timely test results for disease diagnosis, improving patient outcomes and supporting the Air Force Medical Service goal of Zero Harm.

It also provides the opportunity to highlight the men and women of the 99th Medical Support Squadron Pathology Flight (Clinical Laboratory and Histopathology) and their vital contributions to healthcare in garrison and deployed locations.

“MLPW is important because we do so much and it’s a lot of behind the scenes work so most people don’t really know what we do,” said Airman 1st Class Dashawn Robinson, 99th MDSS laboratory technician. “We do more than just draw blood. We do a lot of hands on work that takes a lot of preparation, analysis and reporting.”

The Clinical Laboratory is vitally important. Even though patients may see only a few lab techs, there are many more working behind the specimen collection area ensuring that patients receive excellent medical care and building a High Reliability Organization.

The Lab consists of several different sections with each being just as important as the next. They include:

  • Core Lab: contains the chemistry, hematology, coagulation and urinalysis sections. Lab technicians perform a variety of tests in these sections including glucose, cholesterol, clotting system checks, complete blood counts, urine chemical or cell identification, and several more.

  • Microbiology Section: identifies bacteria, viruses, fungus and parasites.

  • Blood Bank: provides patients with much needed blood products in an emergency or during surgeries. Identify antibodies and other clinical conditions that could cause harm to the patient when receiving a blood transfusion.

  • Histopathology: prepares and examines tissues obtained after surgery or biopsy by using a microscope to determine what caused the disease.

Even though each section is specialized in the tests they perform, all of the lab sections work together to provide the best patient care. The Lab operates around the clock to make sure that the patients’ needs are met and to assist the health care provider teams with any test that they might need done to help diagnose the patient’s condition.

“As long as the ER is open we are open,” said Staff Sgt. Heaven Hanson, 99 MDSS NCO in charge of Point of Care. “We are here at all times. For example, if someone is bleeding out, we are here to get them blood products. It is an important job that I think a lot of people don’t really know about. They just see the blood show up but how does it get to you? How is it tested beforehand to make sure that's there is no reaction? That's where we come in."

The 99th MDSS laboratory professionals deliver accurate testing on a daily basis and serve as a part of the installation’s health care team. By using state-of-the art technology and instrumentation helps the detection of potential health problems. The sooner a disease is caught, increases the chances for a positive outcome. Seventy percent of medical decisions are based on laboratory testing results.

As part of MLPW, 99th MDSS had several fun activities to further recognize all of the hard work the lab and histology technicians put in day in and day out.

A few of those activities included several lab themed games, team building exercises, sporting events, potluck and a BBQ social to end the week. 

“Lab Week just helps remind you that you are excited to be a lab tech”, said Hanson. “We are here 24/7 and it may get tedious and hectic at times but this week really lets us take the time to appreciate what we do and how we are important in delivering excellent healthcare to all beneficiaries. I think it brings us together in that sense.”

According to Maj (Dr.) Joseph Restivo, Laboratory Director, this week marks the 42nd year in celebrating Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. All our laboratory personnel have contributed tremendously to the military’s medical mission and I am extremely grateful for their continued positive impact on patient care by providing Trusted Care, Anywhere.