Welcome to the laboratory. It's a fascinating place where skilled professionals use the tiniest bits of tissue and smallest microscopic particles to uncover vital information about your health. Laboratory tests check the make-up of blood, urine, body fluids and tissue for early warning signs of disease. These tests provide vital information to physicians. Many medical conditions begin slowly without outward symptoms. However, changes in blood or body cells can indicate the presence of a problem. If the tests are completed early enough, preventive action can be taken. When a condition is more advanced, tests aid doctors in the diagnosis and selection of the proper treatment. Laboratory Roles Medical Laboratory Scientists/Clinical Laboratory ScientistsMedical laboratory scientists are highly skilled, college-educated professionals who possess the knowledge and training to assist the pathologist in pinpointing diagnoses. Medical laboratory scientists perform a full range of laboratory tests from chemistry analysis of blood to complex immunological tests that detect cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Medical laboratory scientists are also responsible for confirming the accuracy of test results, reporting the findings to the pathologist and other doctors, as well as assuming responsibility for supervisory, managerial and educational roles. Special types of technologists in the anatomic pathology laboratory include the cytotechnologist and histotechnologist.Pathologists Pathologists are doctors who participate in day-to-day hospital care by providing and interpreting laboratory information. This information is used to help solve diagnostic problems and monitor the effects of therapy. A pathologist is a physician with four or more years of additional training to become an expert in the use of laboratory tests to diagnose and treat disease.Technicians Medical laboratory technicians are an important part of the health care team. Complex equipment, computers and precision instruments are the tools they use to uncover the answers to health problems. Special types of technicians include the histologic technician (prepares tiny sections of body tissues for microscopic examinations by a pathologist) and the phlebotomy technician (collects blood samples for laboratory analysis). The Medical Laboratory Many departments make up today's modern laboratory. Each area is dedicated to providing the special services that add up to quality health care. Chemistry is filled with fascinating, modern technology that helps laboratory professionals quickly analyze the chemical composition of blood and body fluids. Some of the tests performed in the chemistry laboratory include glucose (aids in the diagnosis of diabetes), cholesterol, hormones, and drug testing.Hematology counts, describes and identifies cells in the blood and other body fluids. The slightest change in shape or size or number of cells will tell these skilled laboratory professionals if you are anemic or have leukemia. Flow cytometry helps to identify leukemias, immune problems and DNA content by use of sophisticated laser and fluorescent methodologies. Microbiology tracks down and identifies disease-causing bacteria, parasites or viruses. These laboratory professionals use growth characteristics in artificial media, chemical testing and slide identification to determine which medications will work against the infections. Molecular diagnostics methods, which include PCR testing, are also performed in this lab. Transfusion Medicine supplies all the blood products that are necessary for the treatment of many types of blood disorders including anemias and blood clotting disorders. Each blood unit is individually typed for blood group, screened for antibodies and tested for contagious diseases. This laboratory is also referred to as the blood bank. Immunology is the study of the body's response to viruses or allergy-causing agents. This area is responsible for many tests of the efficiency of the human immune system.Histology evaluates cells in tissues and organs. The histotechnologist helps the pathologist with such complex tasks as fine needle biopsies (a special procedure that collects tissue from lesions) and autopsies (to determine the cause of death). Cytology is the study of human cells. This is where cell samples are examined to detect early signs of cancer and other diseases. One of the principle functions is the detection of cancer of the cervix (the familiar PAP smear). A cytotechnologist screens human cell samples to uncover early signs of cancer and other diseases. Support Services is a combined effort of our phlebotomy team, specimen processors and office personnel.Phlebotomy is the collection and processing of blood and other specimens. After processing, the samples are distributed to different areas of the laboratory for analysis by the medical technologist. The Laboratory Office coordinates all the activities that keep the laboratory operation running smoothly and efficiently. Dedicated personnel look up test results for physicians, send reports to nursing stations, order outpatient lab work and perform all related clerical duties.