To the editor:
You may not know who laboratory professionals are or what we do, but the parking lot “mobile testing centers” for the COVID-19 pandemic that you may have seen across the state are not us. These are “specimen collection” centers, not “test centers.” Brave health care professionals are collecting your samples, but the actual testing is done in a laboratory by a medical laboratorian. These highly trained and dedicated health professionals make an invaluable contribution to quality health care and save countless lives each day by providing reliable laboratory test results required for the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease. The diversified employees of the laboratory include pathologists, medical laboratory scientists/technicians, histologists, cytotechnologists, microbiologists, laboratory assistants, phlebotomists, transcriptionists, and clerical staff.
When a patient specimen comes into the clinical laboratory, we do not just “push a button” and an answer comes out. We use sophisticated analyzers, but we also do complex manual testing that required years of scientific study to develop. We use interpretative skills identifying bacteria causing infections, or cells involved in the immune response or cancer. We have troubleshooting skills in order to ensure accurate and valid test results.
If a test takes hours/days/weeks to perform, that is truly how long it takes. We give your specimen the fullest attention. You are not just a swab or a blood sample to us. We communicate regularly on highly technical scientific matters with the state health department, the CDC or other reference centers.
We love science and want to serve the scientific needs of our patients however they enter the health care system. You may not know we are there, but we are dedicated professionals of your healthcare team.
We are testing, we are laboratory scientists, and we are there for you.
Parkers Prairie, MN