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A note from Dr. Leo Hardy

April 18-24, 2010, is National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.

Laboratory staff at Castleview Hospital care for patients every day by performing tests that save lives, keep people healthy, and get results. What we, as laboratory professionals, do is more than just a job. It's a mission. When a loved one becomes sick, getting better is the only goal. Pathologists know that an accurate diagnosis is the first step and key on the path back to wellness.

Acting as the Castleview Hospital laboratory medical director since 1994 I ensure the compatibility and safety of blood transfusions, direct and promote programs minimizing the risk of hospital acquired infections and act as a consultant to primary care physicians and other allied healthcare specialists regarding complex medical problems and recommend the most timely, cost effective and accurate methods for patient diagnosis and treatment. Pathologists also provide surgeons, radiologists and other physicians intraoperative and emergency consultations onsite, via the telephone, as well as with real time telepathology for the immediate microscopic diagnosis of acute leukemia and other life threatening malignancies and infections around the clock using a microscope and sometimes digital technology.

Every day, work in hospital and pathology laboratories contributes to 70-80 percent of the information needed for precise diagnosis and personalized treatment. As a physician who specializes in pathology, I diagnose cancer. I urge men and women to schedule regular cancer screenings with their family physician; early detection can and does save lives.

Although signs and symptoms of a cancer may certainly be suggested by a doctor's careful physical exam, blood and urine tests and/or radiology studies (x-rays, CT or an MRI scans), such findings do not prove or disprove the existence of cancer nor do they accurately classify it for therapy. That's where a pathologist comes in who definitively confirms the diagnosis and classifies the malignancy by microscopic analysis of a tissue biopsy or fluid sample using a microscope.

To help you and your family members remember to schedule life-saving screening tests, I encourage you to visit to sign up for a free and confidential email message from the College of American Pathologists reminding you to get appropriate cancer screening tests. Early detection can be the first tool to save your life or the life of someone you love.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, the College of American Pathologists also offers an online resource, Visitors will find information sheets on more than 40 types of cancer, tips on how to read a pathology report, questions to ask the doctor, and encouraging survivor stories. Patients can access accurate information 24/7 to arm themselves with knowledge in their fight against cancer.

In conclusion, I would like to personally thank all of the patients, their families, the physicians, the medical and administrative staff of Castleview Hospital for supporting and promoting the high quality, state of the art and timely laboratory and pathology medical services. Most importantly, you can rest assured that we, as your locally available laboratory professionals, are completely committed to you, your family and your loved ones, and we strongly support your local physician, your specialist and/or allied healthcare provider with the most modern, accurate, cost effective and efficient personal laboratory medicine services available anywhere!

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