Laboratory Workers Put Needles to a Different Use

WARE — To celebrate National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week last month, phlebotomists, laboratory technologists, and technicians at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital — known by most for using needles to draw blood — instead picked up sewing needles and completed a king-sized, handmade quilt.

“Every person in the lab had a hand in this project,” noted Patti Swistak, medical technologist. “The staff worked together to create this work of art celebrating our team of exceptional professionals.”

The quilt will be donated to the hospital’s Auxiliary to be raffled off in honor of Baystate Mary Lane’s 100th anniversary. It will be on display at the BMLH gift shop, where raffle tickets may be purchased.

Nationally, more than 280,000 medical laboratory professionals perform and interpret laboratory tests that save lives and keep people healthy. Within the BMLH laboratory, professionals work in chemistry, serology, hematology, cytology, microbiology, coagulation, immunology, histology, urinalysis, or the blood bank.

“We are proud of the work we do,” said John Olinski, supervisor. “Our technologists are painstakingly meticulous in performing their jobs as they provide dependable answers to patients’ physicians.”

Located on the first floor of the hospital, the full-service laboratory annually processes more than 240,000 tests, performs more than 12,000 patient blood draws, and transfuses more than 700 units of blood. Behind the scenes, laboratory staff use state-of-the-art technology and instrumentation to help prevent disease by detecting unknown health problems, and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of existing conditions. Doctors rely heavily on lab tests to make diagnoses.

Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, a member of Baystate Health, has been awarded accreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent on-site inspection. The facility is one of the more than 6,000 CAP-accredited laboratories nationwide.

“CAP inspectors examine the entire staff’s qualifications, the laboratory’s equipment, facilities, safety program, and record, as well as the overall management of the laboratory,” noted Chad Mullin, director of Diagnostic Services at the hospital. “This stringent inspection program is designed to specifically ensure the highest standard of care for our laboratory’s patients.”

Baystate Mary Lane Hospital also offers a walk-in Radiology and Laboratory Patient Service Center at a satellite location, 95 Sargent St. in Belchertown. All specimens collected there are processed within the hospital laboratory or at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

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