Have you ever wondered who conducts the laboratory testing
ordered by your physician and analyzes the results? How about those who
identify an antibiotic resistant infection like Methicillin Resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), or which antibiotic is required to save someone's
life, or whether or not someone has cancer, or who conducts specialized testing
for genetic disorders?
Medical Laboratory Technicians/Technologists and Pathologists
are the ones who provide laboratory testing and results to physicians so they
can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
These individuals are out of the limelight, but they perform
vital work by helping to inform life-and-death decisions every day.
The laboratory at Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is
operated by the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA), who
are a member-based, non-profit organization managing 18 licensed,
acute-care, hospital-based laboratories that support clinical programs in Eastern
Ontario's Champlain Region.
The team of more than two dozen staff members in the EORLA
lab at CCH collect and analyze tissue, blood, and bodily fluid samples from
patients to help diagnose every health condition from cancer to COVID-19. Their
multi-disciplinary lab analysis and diagnostic skills are essential to every
patient’s healthcare diagnosis.
The laboratory at CCH is mostly hidden from patients and is
relatively unknown to the general public. Here you won’t find hospital beds or
waiting rooms, but you will find various biomedical instruments, microscopes, equipment
and materials for performing different laboratory activities and tests, and a
team of staff clad in white lab coats working diligently to analyze samples
around the clock.
More than 650 tests are processed every 24 hours at the
EORLA lab at CCH for various departments including dialysis, chemotherapy, pharmacy,
emergency, and multiple other clinics in the hospital. Everything from
complete blood cell counts, venous blood gases, glucose levels, etc., are
processed at the lab to help inform diagnosis and treatment plans for
physicians and care teams.
“There is a true sense of teamwork as we work so closely
with all departments, ensuring we are providing physicians and care teams with
accurate results to administer appropriate treatments,” says Jessica Adams,
Senior Medical Laboratory Technologist in Biochemistry. “The lab plays a big
role in making sure CCH can provide exceptional patient care; there truly is
nothing more rewarding.”
Tucked away in a corner office of the lab at CCH is a pivotal
physician in our community, Dr. Neil Davis, a pathologist who largely goes
unseen by patients but plays an important role behind the scenes.
As a pathologist, Dr. Davis studies fluids, tissues, or even
entire organs taken from the body, and analyzes these items to diagnose
illness, monitor ongoing medical conditions, and to help guide treatment. For
instance, the vast majority of cancer diagnoses at CCH are made by, or in
conjunction with, Dr. Davis.
“As a pathologist, I am a consultant to other doctors. Our
diagnosis is an important aspect of the management of a patient’s disease. Patient
history along with physical signs and symptoms are vital, but most diagnoses
need confirmation that only laboratory tests and pathology reports can provide,”
explains Dr. Davis.
my reports contain good news, and sometimes it’s unfortunately bad news, but
every specimen, every glass slide, every written report represents a patient
with a family, a home, a history, hopes, and dreams. It is extremely
humbling. Knowing that I'm directly touching so many lives is what drives me
every day. I’m fortunate to be spending my career serving this wonderful
community, and am honoured to be part of such a thriving department, caring
for our patients together as a team,” adds Dr. Davis.
National Medical Laboratory Week takes place from April 10 to
16. This week shines a spotlight on laboratory professionals and their passion
to provide the highest quality service to healthcare and it is a well-deserved
recognition week. Please join me in recognizing and thanking our local medical
laboratory professionals for playing such a vital role for our patients at CCH
and across the healthcare system.
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Patient and Family Advisory Committee
Cornwall Community Hospital is located on the traditional lands of the Akwesasne Mohawks and their ancestors. We are forever grateful to those who had been on these lands before us and through their stewardship and connection to the land, have made it what it is now. Read our full Land Acknowledgement here.
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