Celebrating GCH’s Heroes in the Lab


GRAFTON— Now more than ever, it is important to recognize the hard work of Medical Laboratory Scientists, and this past week was a time of recognition of these highly skilled individuals, the Heroes in the Lab at Grafton City Hospital.

Each year, medical laboratory staff and pathologists are celebrated during National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. Locally, Graton City Hospital (GCH) recognized their laboratory staff, who play a vital role in health care and patient advocacy, during the nationwide event held April 18-24.

When COVID-19 hit the United States, many laboratories found themselves working together to address the virus, developing testing that would aid in diagnosing and treating outbreaks. In April 2020, armed with a can-do attitude and devoted lab staff, GCH began testing for the virus in-house.

And through shortages of personal protective equipment and supplies, the lab continued to work hard to ensure that the health of residents was the top priority of not only the medical staff but the hospital administration, as well.

“Our administration even went to auto parts stores in town, trying to find masks and respirators,” shared Andrea L. Grey, MT, Technical Supervisor, Technical Consultant at Grafton City Hospital. “The community came together to help by providing hand-made masks, treats and even flowers to help brighten work areas. It really made us feel like we were in the battle together.”

She shared that GCH’s lab remained ahead of the game in testing, utilizing two analyzers that offered testing early on.

“We were able to prioritize samples based on supply available and patient needs,” she explained. “Like many of the labs, we were constantly changing how and who we tested in-house in our facility. Again, the great staff at GCH stepped up to meet the demands of our community.”

Grey added, “Everyone helped out from staffing front screener, taking turns collecting, working long hours at registration, along with many other areas throughout the hospital.”

And just as it has always done, the lab strives for excellence, partnering with local and state health departments. The hospital’s newly installed drive thru building was utilized in testing efforts, and this year, served as the meeting place for the annual spring health fair.

“The health fair was a great success, according to our daily positive feedback,” voiced Clinical Lab Director Nick Jachelski. “It’s just part of that one-on-one attention that you can only receive from a hometown community hospital like Grafton. During National Laboratory Week, I’d like to thank all the laboratory workers for stepping up above and beyond during this horrible pandemic.”

No matter what the call, the lab professionals at GCH were ready to answer.

“Our facility will always consider it a special pleasure to care for people we know and love, and we are willing to adapt to even a pandemic for creative, local health care needs,” Jackelski expressed.

National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week was instituted in 1975, when the American Society for Medical Technology, now the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, came up with the campaign to help raise awareness of these professionals and their crucial role in health care.

The goal of the week is to celebrate and recognize the clinical laboratory personnel that deliver results in hospitals and medical institutions across the country. Along with the medical technologists, various organizations participate in the event, annually.

“Medical Laboratory Scientists are highly skilled health care professionals who collect, process and analyze body fluids such as blood, tissue samples and other bodily fluids,” said Andrea L. Grey, MT, Technical Supervisor, Technical Consultant at Grafton City Hospital. “Their work is vital to properly diagnose, treat, and care for patients.”

These professionals are key members in today’s health care team.

“Laboratory results contribute more than 70 percent of medical decisions in healthcare. These scientists are dedicated to getting accurate and timely results to ensure excellent patient care,” Grey added.

Every day, nurses, physicians and other medical staff depend on this group of individuals to not only perform the tests, but to interpret their results and help provide a complete picture of a patient’s health.

Through their education and training, laboratory professionals can help assess whatever medical issue an individual is facing. Using modern biomedical equipment and complicated analysis, laboratorians can detect the presence of cancer, indemnify infectious viruses and bacteria, and measure glucose, cholesterol or drug levels in blood.

“Without this precise and valuable information, medicine would simply become guesswork,” noted Grey.

Patients can receive a high level of care without leaving Taylor County by choosing to have their lab work done at GCH, even if they are not a patient at the hospital. To schedule an appointment with the lab, please call the hospital at 304-265-0400.

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