What is tested in the laboratory?
In the MRMC Lab, we do testing on clinical specimens. Some of the tests done in a clinical lab might have similarities to tests done in other types of labs, but clinical labs do not test water samples or other materials.
What is a clinical specimen?
A clinical specimen is anything from a patient. Common specimens to test are blood and tissue, but the specimen can be anything. For example, some tests are done on sweat. There are tests that some clinical labs might do on hair or fingernails. In our lab, the majority of tests are done on blood, urine, cerebral spinal fluid, or other bodily fluids, or on tissue, that is, some solid piece of a part of the body.
What comprises the laboratory department?
The MRMC Laboratory is divided into separate sections, depending on the technology being used or the specific type of testing being done. Clinical Chemistry concentrates on tests done on the fluid portion of blood, as well as some other bodily fluids. Hematology looks at the cellular components of blood and coagulation involved in clotting. Microbiology deals with infectious diseases, which can include diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites or tuberculosis. The Blood Bank deals with transfusions, and Donor Services supplies blood for the Blood Bank. Phlebotomy collects blood specimens for testing. Histology and Cytology deal with anatomic pathology.
When is the lab in operation?
The lab is in operation seven days a week, 24 hours a day. There is always a qualified tech in the lab whose job it is to run stat specimens, to man the Blood Bank, or to deal with whatever support the lab needs to provide to the other hospital services. Not all tests are available 24/7, but many are. Aside from being able to cross match units of blood and arrange for blood transfusions, the lab is always ready to accept specimens for culture, cardiac enzymes, drug monitoring, and basic testing such as coagulation testing, complete blood count (CBC), electrolytes and chemistry assays.
Pathology is the study and diagnosis of disease through examination of organs, tissues, bodily fluids and whole bodies (autopsies). Pathology also encompasses the related scientific study of disease processes, called general pathology.
Pathologists are doctors who diagnose and characterize disease in living patients by examining biopsies or bodily fluids. In addition, pathologists interpret medical laboratory tests to help prevent illness or monitor a chronic condition. MRMC is contracted with Baylor College of Medicine to provide our on-site Pathologist, David Jackson, MD.