True to Life Stories from a Medical Technologist

You guessed it, I am a medical technologist. Unless you are one you probably do not even know who we are, what we do, and our centralized importance to treating the sick.

A medical technologist is an individual who works in the clinical laboratory processing various bodily fluids for the presence of disease. We work mainly in hospitals but can be found elsewhere. I have been one know for almost 15 years and would like to tell you more about my profession.

To be an MT you must possess a BS degree in Biology or Chemistry and complete another year of specialized training. In larger hospitals MTs usually specialize in certain areas, I work in the transfusion services department (blood bank).

It has been my experience that this job is can be very rewarding, and stressful but it is a dying profession. Despite having more education than an RN we are treated with very little respect from RN’s or anyone for that matter. MTs generally do not have any patient contact. Our “customers” are mainly the MD’s, and communicate mainly with the RN’s.

After 15 years of working I have lost almost all respect for both MDs and RNs. Doctors (MD = Medical Deities) believe they are walking Gods that can say and do as they please. Just a couple of weeks ago the following occurred between me and an OB/GYN:

I just came on shift when I get a phone call from an extremely upset individual who didn’t give me his name. He wanted to know if the blood for “patient’s last name” was ready? (We ID patient’s by number since we have over 700 beds). I asked for the patients medical records number. MD paused then blew his top asking me if I had “so fucking many trauma patients down there that you don’t know who the fuck I am talking about.” I told him I just came on shift and need the number. I then told him I didn’t like his attitude. He then accused me of purposely sitting on “my ass” delaying his blood transfusion. After getting the patient information I discovered that the RN dropped the ball and never collected a sample for us to do the testing with! I told the MD we never received a sample from the patient and that he may receive emergency release blood (blood not crossmatched) any time he liked. He then proceeded to cause me out for another 5 minutes using the “f-word” many times as well as every other word he could think of. I finally told him I couldn’t help him any further and asked for his name. I told him I was going to report him. He finally told me his name and then added he didn’t give a fuck what I did.

Well I did report him and after explaining what happened to the Medical Director (another doctor) he told me it was my fault. I should’ve not made him mad and got blood ready for him in a timely manner. How do you do this when the RN dropped the ball and never collected a sample for us to do the testing? Well I found out later that the RN lied and said she did draw one but I lost it. Bottom line, the MD is still working, I’m still pissed and nothing else happened. If I would have said what that MD did I would have been fired! This is just one of many such instances that occur.

As for RNs I cannot believe the utter ignorance that they have toward MTs. They argue with us even though they are wrong. With respect to blood banking most do not even know what the blood types are and what is compatible. Here are just a few of the stupid things we put up with:

RN picks up blood and demands “zero negative” for her patient.

RN picks up blood for her patient with sickle cell anemia. She looks at the blood and asks “is this blood safe to give to humans?”

We are working with a GSW (gun shot wound patient) in the OR. Patient has already gone through 40 units of blood. An RN from the OB floor calls and wants her patient’s Rhogam now. We tell her its going to be delayed due to a very bad trauma patient in the OR. She states she doesn’t care about that her patient wants to go home now!

RN calls:

“How do I administer blood?”
“What is blood made out of?”
“How fast should I run this blood?”
“Why is blood red?”
“What is an antigen? …antibody?”
“Is it ok to give A blood to an O pt?
“Is it ok to give A neg blood to and A positive pt?”
“My patient is O positive can you tell me what his blood type is?
“Can you go ahead and thaw the platelets for…” (platelets are kept at room temp)
“I need to get Fresh Frozen Plasma for my patient STAT how long is it going to take to get it ready? I tell her 25-30 minutes. She says why so long, I tell her because its FROZEN. She says I cannot wait that long I will just come and get it via emergency release. I tell her ok but it will still be FROZEN!”

There are hundreds more were these came from. Oh and by-the-way we are designated a “Magnet Hospital” an award given for excellent nursing care.

Now I know there are some excellent RNs at our hospital but there are far too many who think they know something but don’t know jack. These are the ones that truly scare me. They are full of attitude and Bull shit. When they come to the blood bank to pick up blood I truly feel sorry for the patients they are supposedly are taking care of.

I’ve seen it as a patient and as a medical professional, MDs are ass holes and most RNs couldn’t give a shit about you.

Don’t ever get sick enough to require a stay in the hospital, you are nothing but a slab of meat on a bed for the MD to experiment on and the RN to abuse.