Just a thought, but I have tired of the assumption that COVID-19 "testing" is being performed in the parking lots of many health care facilities. I have thus sent the following to several newspapers in my area (New Bedford Standard Times, Boston Globe, Fall River Herald, Taunton Daily Gazette) and suggest that you consider doing the same. Use mine, or make up your own. NOW is a great time to make this identity point.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Of Clinical Laboratory Professionals
I know that you do not know who we are or what we do, but let me start with one simple revelation. Those parking lot "mobile testing centers" for Coronavirus, ARE NOT. They are "specimen collection" centers. Worked at by brave and true health care professionals, but NO testing is done there. The actual testing is done in a clinical laboratory by clinical laboratory professionals. Did you know that we have college degrees, many with masters or doctorate degrees? We have studied topics that you might have a hard time pronouncing; Organic Chemistry, Molecular Virology, Infectious Disease, Immunohematology, Clinical Informatics, Dyslipoproteinemia, Thrombotic Evaluation, Flow Cytometric Studies, Tissue Banking, Immunohistochemistry, Pharmacogenomics, Mycology, Parasitology, Viral Optimization, etc.?
When a patient specimen comes into the clinical laboratory, we don't just "push a button" and the answer comes out. Sometimes we collect the specimens ourselves. We do use $$$$$ analyzers (quite different from your dishwasher), but we also do complex manual testing requiring years of scientific study to get right and many with interpretive skills that you really cannot imagine (telling a promyelocyte from an immunoblast, telling Plasmodium falciparum from Babesia microti). If a test takes hours/days/weeks to perform, that is how long it takes. We are not snoozing, ignoring your needs. And yet, we manage to give your specimen (even though you may never have seen us) the fullest attention. What we do just doesn't work unless we do it that way. You may think that to us you are just a swab or venipuncture, but we get specimens from all over the hospital, and its clinics and usually from individual physician offices. We communicate regularly on highly technical scientific matters with the state department of public health and/or the CDC or other reference centers. We would like it if citizens out there know who we are, but that is not why we do what we do. We love science and want to serve the scientific needs of our patients however they enter the health care system. That said, we are not that happy about being TOTALLY UNKNOWN. Everyone forgets us. We need PPE as well, We are working extra shifts as well, We are stressed as well, We have shortages of all kinds of scientific materials. You don't have to think of us very often, but don't think we are not there trying to help you with all those other people who you hear about so often.
James T. Griffith, Ph.D., CLS (NCA)
Chancellor Professor Emeritus
University Of Massachusetts
Many of us have sent emails to governors, mayors and even news casts to the public. I think everyone should send information to all of their officials as although it is sad, this is an unfortunate way for us to be recognized. I have been working diligently with IFBLS to get our message out not only from the US but from other countries I have been in contact with as well.
Stay safe everyone!Pat