Serving Our Community

C-Lab plays a Vital Role in Continuum of Care at CCHC

“CBC! Stat!” It’s a common scene in prime time medical dramas: a doctor, searching for answers, asks for a patient’s complete blood count. While most of the drama in these programs is fiction, the demand for a comprehensive study of a patient’s blood is most certainly not.

“Approximately eighty percent of the decisions made in regard to treatment of patients are based on lab results,” said Pat Cabana, Interim Director Laboratory Services. In her role, Pat supervises a staff that conducts 2.1 million blood and diagnostic tests per year. “Physicians rely greatly on the information to determine the appropriate course of treatment for a disease or condition, or to see if the medications patients take are effective.”

Sixty percent of the lab’s specimens are collected not at the hospitals, but at outreach facili- ties across the Cape. With offices in Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, two in Sandwich, Hyannis, Dennis, Harwich, Orleans and Provincetown, Cape residents are never more than a few miles away from a C-Lab location.

Since 45 percent of C-Lab patients are Medi- care beneficiaries, cost concerns are legitimate. However, the importance of such tests cannot be denied. “When you look at evidence based medicine, lab test results are a great part of it,” Pat said. Another of the lab’s responsibilities is blood collection for transfusion at local hospitals. That’s no small responsibility as Cape Cod Hospital, for example, transfuses close to 8,000 units annually. “Of those units we transfuse, 25% are gathered from community blood drives,” Pat said, “saving about $250,000 per year.” Conversely, a lack of donations leads to increased costs – whatever is not col- lected through blood drives must be purchased through the American Red Cross or the Rhode Island Blood Center.

Efforts to minimize external purchases are on- going, said C-Lab Blood Bank Supervisor Niall Daly, noting that blood drives are now conduct- ed twice weekly. Niall emphasized how easy it is to give blood. “It takes 45 minutes or less and we give incentives such as movie passes and promotional items and always juice and cook- ies!” Niall recognizes the difficulty of getting donors through the door, but, “once they donate they’ll come back. Our return rate is 70 percent.”

Julie Medeiros, Transfusion Service Supervisor, is now in her 29th year in the Falmouth Hospi- tal lab. “Donating blood helps your neighbors, your family. Every unit we receive is transfused at either Falmouth Hospital or Cape Cod Hospital.” Falmouth Hospital will hold a Blood Drive on Wednesday, May 27th at the Faxon Center basement from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The goal is to gather 50 units at the drive.

National Medical Lab Professionals week oc- curred in April. However, the jobs done at our labs are clearly vital on a daily basis, year-round.

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