Grant Memorial Hospital recognized the "vital contributions" of its staff of medical laboratory employees during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, according to GMH CEO Mary Beth Barr.
Deb Bishop, GMH laboratory manager, said that every day, nurses, physicians and other health care workers depend on medical laboratory professionals to give them information that helps in the diagnosis and treatment plans for their patients.
"Using modern biomedical equipment and complicated analysis, we can detect the presence of cancer; identify infectious viruses and bacteria, and measure glucose, cholesterol or drug levels in blood. Medicine would be nothing but guesswork without this precise and valuable information."
Deb Bishorp, lab manager, and Rona Zuber, lab tech, both of Moorefield, are among those recognized by Grant Memorial Hospital for their service.
Medical laboratory professionals work in hospitals, physician offices or private clinical laboratories, performing laboratory tests and monitoring the quality of their results. Others are employed by university or industrial research laboratories to seek solutions for medicine's many unanswered questions. Many of these professionals are found outside the traditional laboratory, participating in community health activities, conducting environmental testing or serving in the Peace Corps.
Today there are more than 265,000 medical laboratory professionals and 15,000 board-certified pathologists who play a vital role in health care in the United States. The profession includes pathologists, pathologists' assistants, clinical laboratory technologists, technicians, histotechs, cytotechs, phlebotomists, lab assistants, secretarial and clerical support.
Bishop said that at Grant Memorial Hospital, "we have lab technologists, medical lab assistants, phlebotomists, secretarial and clerical support.
"For additional laboratory support we send specimens to larger laboratories in our region," she said.
"There is a laboratory professional shortage across the nation," said Bishop. "Maybe that is because we are not seen by the public, thus people don't find the profession to be all that glamorous; our work day is behind the scenes of the medical world. Locally, we are lucky that our young people have the opportunity to enter the field of laboratory services at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College."
Bishop is one of the instructors for Eastern's phlebotomy program. There is also a medical laboratory technician program at Allegheny College in Cumberland, Maryland.
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is celebrated across the nation in April in recognition of the services and support they give to the health care community. The 2011 theme is "Laboratory Professionals GET RESULTS" and was celebrated April 24-30. For additional information American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, call Grant Memorial Hospital at 304-257-1026 or go online at www.ascls.org.