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It’s time to celebrate and recognize lab workers during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week! 


What exactly is this week about? Medical Laboratory Professionals Week started in 1975, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s an opportunity to increase public awareness and understanding and appreciation for lab workers for one week at the end of April.  


“The most rewarding part about working in a lab is that we are saving lives each and every day.” 


You may not know, but Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has a large team of lab workers working behind the scenes to help save lives in our community. Lab positions spread across the board from techs to specialists to supervisors. We spoke with Shantelle Myers, Consultation and Reference Laboratory Assistant Manager, about some of the responsibility’s lab workers do at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. 


“In Consultation & Reference Lab, we provide transfusion services to transfusion facilities for patient care, perform IRL antibody testing for hospitals, provide rare antigen-negative red blood cells (RBCs) for patients that have developed antibodies, and we provide commercial RBCs for manufacturing commercial red cells,” Shantelle said.  


Working in a lab can be rewarding and exciting! Shantelle says there’s a lot of teamwork involved, but there’s also some mystery in the work. You never know what results you’ll get when you test the blood.  


“Once we identify the antibody, we have to provide antigen-negative units to the patient in order for the patient to have a safe blood transfusion,” Shantelle said. 


The pandemic has put an added stress on our health care system, and lab workers have been working around the clock to help fight the virus. Hundreds of thousands of people were getting tested during COVID-19 surges.  Think about all the lab workers who dealt with the multiple surges in testing and worked around the clock.  


“We get to celebrate, and show appreciation to all Medical Laboratory Professionals and give awareness to the vital parts we play in the lab community.” 


Lab workers at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center were staying busy, too. They were responsible for testing blood to see if donors had COVID-19 antibodies. The program has now ceased due to the increase in vaccines and lower cases.   


Lab workers are the unseen heroes working for their community and helping save lives, and we thank them for their work! Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is April 24-30, 2022.  

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