Name: Margaret Knapp, MLS (ASCP) CLS
Title: Laboratory Consultant
Company: Knapp•Frazer Consulting, Clinical Laboratory Specialists, Santa Rosa, CA
Prior to becoming a laboratory consultant, I worked in hospital laboratories. One Sunday morning, I was working in a hospital transfusion service when a young man came into the ER with severe abdominal pain. It turned out that his spleen had ruptured due to undiagnosed mononucleosis. That morning I crossmatched 20 units of blood from stock on hand and from the local blood center. It was very stressful! It turned out that the patient used all of the units before and during his surgery. Fortunately, he made a full recovery.
That afternoon my husband and toddler son came to the hospital so that we could have lunch together, as we often did when I worked weekends. As I de-stressed with my son on my lap, I thought of that young man — someone else’s son — whose life I had just helped save. It gave me such a sense of pride, as well as relief because of the good outcome.
Patients may never see those of us working in the lab, only the phlebotomist who draws their blood, so they don’t realize how much goes into testing their samples. Every day we make a difference in so many little ways as laboratorians. It’s why we’re here, and why we play such a critical role in healthcare.