Holiday tales from the lab
Typically around the holidays, people spend time with family and friends. This isn’t always the case for laboratory staff, many of whom work over the Christmas period, conducting diagnostic tests that help save lives.
Working over Christmas
Francis Yongblah shared,
“As Deputy Laboratory Manager at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) it’s my role to ensure that the services run continuously and smoothly 24/7. I look after the bacteriology side of the department working to improve processes, quality, ensure we are fit for purpose and allow for innovation and creativity that can help in improving our methods of detecting infection and how we carry out antimicrobial testing.
At Christmas, it can be a difficult time for patients and parents to be in hospital however the hospital motto always motivates me to play my part in contributing to the web of care for patients, parents and carers. This year I will be covering the Christmas Day night shift. I may be missing spending some of Christmas with my family but knowing that I can play my part for those who are unable to spend Christmas at home with all of their loved ones is a gift in itself to me.”
Beast from the East
Earlier this year the UK faced the ‘Beast from the East’, where hospitals and many NHS services struggled to continue, due to severe weather conditions. Laboratory staff were not deterred, and many worked hard to make it to work.
Amongst the stories we received this year, one of the most heart-warming is that of the team from NHS Fife, who braved the cold to care for their patients. This team’s dedication to patient care was exceptional, and most notably won the Advancing Healthcare Award for their rapid flu testing solution.
Dr Mairiead MacLennan, Professional Manager (Quality & Training) of the department of Medical Microbiology & Infection Control at North Laboratory Victoria Hospital said,
"Here is a photo of our Microbiology Biomedical Science 'Fife Snow Warriors' in Kirkcaldy!
We have most of our staff snowed in unable to get to work from across the County but those who could trudge to work in knee to thigh deep snow and a few who drive tank like vehicles braved the elements to ensure we kept the laboratory service fully operational to ensure the Victoria Hospital & GPs can meet the essential needs of Fife patients.
We are proud of you all! One member of staff called out on Thursday evening to perform a CSF examination trudged to the lab for almost an hour there and back."
Ceri Colman shared,
“Here’s a photo from the NHS Tayside Pathology lab, this is all the staff from the lab, office, cytology along with a few of the pathologists! All of whom carried on with such a staff shortage due to the beast from the east!
Walking through the snow and some even daring to drive through the treacherous conditions, so proud of all of our team for working so hard to give our all to the patients! We are also so grateful for the bus services, they have been amazing and not to forget the porters making sure specimens are getting delivered to us!”
A Christmas gift
Biomedical Scientist Stefan Kunka shared a charming story about his time on shift at Health Services Laboratories.
“A touching example I witnessed last Christmas Day was when the results of haematological investigations confirmed that a sibling of a patient with acute leukaemia had responded to GCSF therapy.
This meant that they were able to donate bone marrow to their critically ill sister - giving her a chance of survival from this deadly disease. Surely that’s the best Christmas gift anyone can receive.”