MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Normally, superheroes don’t wear lab coats and look into microscopes, but for one group of Airmen, collecting and examining specimens is how they fight the bad guys and save the day.
The 23d Medical Support Squadron’s medical laboratory team combines their heroic powers with specialized equipment to fend off various diseases, illnesses and ailments.
“Taking care of our warriors and helping them maintain a healthy status is of the utmost importance,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Sanchez, 23d MDSS laboratory services flight chief. “They can’t perform their missions if they’re ill, at either home station or downrange. No matter the location of our Airmen, they can have a peace of mind knowing that their families will be taken care of through our medical practices.”
Moody’s lab assesses approximately 10,000 Airmen, families, retirees and civilian employees through their medical procedures.
According to Staff Sgt. Brittany Marin, 23d MDSS medical lab technician, explaining the process of these procedures while giving patient care is an important part of the lab’s mission.
“We like to help people and provide a friendly, engaging environment to comfort our patients,” said Marin. “This is important because it puts them at ease to engage with them as we explain what and why we’re doing certain things. Even though most people think of us as just the people who stick them with needles during blood draws, we do much more.”
In addition to collecting blood samples, which can be used to detect a wide array of diseases and monitor therapeutic treatments, the lab also performs sample testing using methods in urinalysis, immunology, hematology and microbiology in a safe and secure setting unseen by the patients.
Since most of the specimens evaluated cannot be seen by the human eye, the lab relies on several machines to gather data.
“To perform complex analysis on all bodily fluids involves the use of complex machinery, equipment and very high attention to detail,” said Sanchez. “A mistake on a lab technician’s part can be the difference between life and death. Our lab result accuracy is vital in ensuring that our doctors choose the right course of treatment to potentially save a patient’s life.”
Lab technicians assist their 23d Medical Group doctors, physician assistants and nurse counterparts to give patients the proper care and treatment. To do this proficiently, they constantly train to stay current on medical procedures by performing monthly competency reviews and learning new practices.
Although this dedication and tenacity has led the lab to accomplish a 99.7 percent rating from their last College of American Pathologists inspection, Sanchez feels that there’s always room for improvement.
“There’s always room to continually strive towards excellence,” said Sanchez. “Our goal is for our Airmen to be fully competent in their job duties and train others as they become future leaders. This attitude of excellence allows us to approach everything with the utmost care, which is vital in our line of work.”
Even though they aren’t on the front lines, they confront their nemeses on a different battlefield, where they save the day inside the laboratory.
Just like super heroes defending those in need, the 23d MDSS medical laboratory team keeps Moody’s Flying Tiger community healthy and mission-ready.