Lab techs keep Holloman healthy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Colin Cates
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
The 49th Medical Support Squadron laboratory technicians work behind the scenes to ensure timely results that directly impact Airmen's health and care.

Technicians do a variety of tasks, including collecting and preparing various specimens for analysis; testing and analyzing specimens using scientific laboratory techniques; and aiding the diagnosis.

The medical laboratory mission is to take samples of biological materials and then assess the cells to gather the results doctors need to make diagnoses of their patients, said Terra Green, 49th MDSS medical technician.

Most diagnoses in the medical community are made based on lab work, said Green. Results are not solely based on blood; they are also based on urine and other samples to obtain the information needed, said Green. Any kind of fluid that is taken from a patient goes to the lab to be analyzed and documented.

"We are the first step in determining what is wrong with the patient," said Airman 1st Class Devin Adrian, 49th MDSS laboratory technician. "We check for a number of things, such as high cholesterol."

In the lab, each Airman manages a section -- shipping, chemistry, hematology, and the front desk. The Airmen rotate through each section to be knowledgeable on everything, said Green.

"The majority of the day's work is done in the morning then the afternoon is spent analyzing and documenting," said Adrian. "On average, we see about 50 patients a day."

A flexible schedule at the medical laboratory helps accommodate the needs of Holloman AFB.

"On Wednesday, we have in-processing day and all new Airmen have their blood drawn," said Green. "The lab also processes outgoing Airmen and returning deployers."

The medical lab works with the local Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment and the 49th Security Forces Squadron to do blood alcohol tests and toxicology exams. It also has an on-call technician which covers anything that comes up after hours.

The medical laboratory is certified by the College of America Pathologists. The certification means Holloman's laboratory has good lab practices, follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules, and maintains good quality control that produces accurate results, said Green.

The work the medical laboratory does here affects every part of this base, he said.

"I picked this career field because of the opportunity to learn something that will really change lives," said Adrian.