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The Laboratory at Palmetto Health Baptist serves its inpatient clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Outpatient hours in the hospital laboratory are 7 a.m.–7 p.m. seven days a week. The Palmetto Health Baptist Laboratory offers a long list of services to provide top quality care:
Tissue is received from physicians’ offices or from surgery. After initial examination of the specimen, selected portions are processed, cut into microscopically thin sections, mounted on glass slides, and stained. The sections are then examined and a diagnosis made. A test example is a skin biopsy. The Histology Division has state of the art staining equipment and procedures, which assist in making definitive diagnoses. Histology serves as a referral laboratory for other facilities in the area.
Blood cells are typed according to their chemical nature, and the fluid portion of the blood can be analyzed to determine what antibodies to blood cells are present. This information is critical in the care and treatment of patients who, for many different reasons, may need to receive a transfusion of whole blood, or some other blood component, such as plasma or platelets. A test example is a crossmatch.
The fluid portion of blood contains many chemicals. Some are not normally there except in illness or abuse. Others are normally there, but may be there in decreased or increased amounts in illness. Some are drugs whose action needs to be monitored for proper therapy. The Chemistry Division analyzes samples with very sophisticated, automated instruments. A test example is a glucose.
This division specializes in both red and white blood cell normality and abnormality and in the coagulation process. Many illnesses are diagnosed based on blood cell quantitation, stage of development, and abnormal structural findings. Coagulation is important in heart disease, and the monitoring of anticoagulant therapy. Test examples are a CBC and a Prothrombin Time.
The human body comes into contact with many microorganisms. Some live normally on or within the body without causing any harm. Other organisms are incompatible with health and life. Microbiology identifies such organisms and tests them against antibiotics to determine which drug will combat a particular infection. A test example is a urine culture.
The testing done in this division combines chemical analysis of the urine fluid and microscopic analysis for cellular components and crystals. A good “urinalysis” can tell the physician many things about the different organs and systems in the body, including kidney damage and infectious processes.
When a blood sample is required for analysis, regardless of the patient’s age, a request is sent to the Laboratory and the phlebotomy division will collect the sample. Younger patients are collected by a capillary puncture to either the finger or heel. Other patients will have their sample collected by venipuncture.
CLIENT SERVICES/WORD PROCESSING
These divisions support the technical work of the lab in many ways. Outpatients and visitors are processed and/or assisted. Telephone communication is received and routed. Pathology results are keyed, distributed, and filed. Previous pathology reports are available for the Pathologist's review along with current tissue. All procedure and other operational manuals for the entire lab are keyed and maintained.