A bunch of white-gowned professionals at Dubbo Hospital don’t need to see the faces of patients to take them to heart.
NSW Health Pathology Dubbo staff know their behind-the-scenes work informs the treatment of 70 per cent of patients.
On Wednesday, International Pathology Day 2018, they got on with the job that can mean the difference between life and death.
The first female laboratory manager of NSW Health Pathology Dubbo, Monique Mintern, said job satisfaction came from delivering the “best possible results”.
“We’re very engaged and passionate about getting the best outcome for the patient, even if we never see them,” she said.
Up to 50 people work at the laboratory including pathologists, scientists, technicians and collection staff.
In the 2017/2018 financial year, the laboratory chalked up more than 370,000 pathology tests in chemistry, immunology, haematology, microbiology and anatomical pathology.
It services an area “roughly the size of Victoria". “We have collectors go out to more regional and remote places such as Warren, Nyngan, Cobar, Narromine, Trangie, Coonabarabran, Coolah and Barradine,” Ms Mintern said.
NSW Health Pathology Dubbo staff also maintain and service “point-of-care” machines.
“Point-of-care testing is a reasonably new technology which is really beneficial for rural and remote facilities because it provides pathology testing basically at the patient’s bedside,” the laboratory manager said.
The laboratory operates 24/7.
“We don’t close our doors,” Ms Mintern said.
“It doesn’t matter what time of day or night the samples come in. If a patient is transferred from a regional or remote community in the middle of the night, we test that patient because we operate the same hours as the hospital.”
On some occasions the laboratory’s blood bank provides life-saving transfusions.
On International Pathology Day 2018, Ms Mintern was keen to tell Dubbo and district residents that they could have blood taken at the laboratory seven days a week, including public holidays.
Blood collection takes place between 7am and 4.45pm from Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. No appointment is needed.
Laboratory staff prepared a unique morning tea for International Pathology Day 2018 that included “pus” pavlova, a “kidney” cake and fruit molecules.