THE ROLE OF MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTIST IN THE HEALTH SECTOR
A medical laboratory scientist may be described as the individual who has studied medical laboratory science in an accredited university or institution, passed the prescribed courses and qualifying professional exams and is duly registered by the national medical laboratory science council. The academic curriculum of the medical laboratory profession covers vast areas including Basic Medical Sciences- Anatomy, Physiology, biochemistry and core subjects as Hematology and Blood Group Serology, Clinical Chemistry, Histopathology and Cytology, Medical Microbiology, Immunology as well as Mathematics, Statistics, Pharmacology, Research methods and Managements at the undergraduate level, paving way for limitless areas of specialization at the postgraduate level. The vastness of this field of study makes the Medical Laboratory Science Graduate a multi-potent professional.
Being multi-potent, the Medical laboratory Scientist can be involved in several spheres of the economy but with particular reference to health care services, his ethical duties involve the systematic and scientific analysis of body fluids and secretions, tissues, biopsies, aspirates, waste products like urine and feaces with the aim of making proper and definitive diagnosis of diseases. The ultimate goal is health recovery for the sick which proves the relevance and indispensable role of the laboratory scientist in the health sector. Here, the pivot or hallmark of healing lies in the accurate diagnosis of the ailment based on the axiom that the discovery of a problem is already half of the solution.
Conventionally, the physician makes some physical observation and based on the signs makes a provisional (presumptive) diagnosis which could be right or wrong. The correctness of presumptive diagnosis is an act of probability given that different disease conditions occasionally display similar symptoms. For instance, a certain middle-aged man was brought into the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department around midday because he began to sweat profusely and then slumped and went into confusion. The physician was invited who immediately took vital signs and asked many questions which could not be answered because no close relative was around. The dilemma of the physician was that the symptoms on hand could as well represent either of two opposing situations- hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia Whereas the clinical management of both conditions are simple though, a switch of one remedy for the other would prove quite disastrous. Not knowing the doctor’s dilemma nor the precarious nature of the situation, the patient’s colleagues were agitated that not even an infusion (drip) could be used on this near dying folk. The physician had to request for some laboratory investigation to help clear the situation.
Simple laboratory investigations like Urinalysis, Plasma glucose level and Full Blood count were just enough to give the needed clue. So the Laboratory Scientist solved the puzzle- hypoglycemia!The rest became more simplified for the doctor. In a short while, the patient got the right medications and left the A&E for his home. This is just one typical example of the significant and indispensable role of the Medical Laboratory Scientist as the torchbearerin health care service.
Nevertheless, Researches have proven that 60-70% of all decisions regarding a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, hospital admission and discharge are based on laboratory test results because the Laboratory Scientist has been trained to perform the following critical duties:
- · Assist the doctor in choice of laboratory investigations.
- · Collects the clinical specimens and perform analysis.
- · Reports and Interprets the laboratory data for the doctor’s use in proper patient diagnosis, treatment and monitoring.
- · Generates data for epidemiological survey.
- · Plays indispensable role in infection control, transfusion medicine, In vitro Fertilization, forensic sciences, genetic counseling/testing etc.
Therefore, why won’t one be glad to study such a noble profession which has proven beyond any reasonable doubt to be the searchlight, oracleand bedrockof modern medicine!