Under the scope with the medical lab

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Disease, illnesses and ailments plague Airmen every day, which can become a hindrance to the mission. Battling these issues is a 24/7 job for the 509th Medical Support Squadron's medical laboratory team.

The team provides diagnostic support for the clinic by running tests on blood or urine samples taken from the patient.

"For diseases such as urinary tract infections, the patient won't know what it is until we test the urine for bacteria," said Master Sgt. Michelle Angeles, 509th MDSS superintendent. "If bacteria show this gives us a definitive diagnosis of what's going on with the patient and aids the provider on what medicine to prescribe for treatment."

The time it takes for results to return varies depending on the test. For example, flu test results arrive in fifteen minutes, while strep throat test results take about five to ten minutes.

Another key duty for the medical laboratory team is keeping PRP Airmen healthy and able to do their job. The personal reliability program, which involves crew chiefs, security forces members and firefighters associated with B-2 Spirit operations, is a vital part of the base's mission.

The amount of tests the team performs varies depending on the number of patients the lab serves.

"The number of patients varies upon number of tests," Loyo said. "We might perform twenty or thirty tests on the same person; it is difficult to say how many patients come in on a typical day, forty to fifty a day probably every day. Some people come in for a simple PHA appointment, they might have an HIV screen or a lipid panel, which would be your cholesterol check. With cholesterol, you get four checks by itself. There is good cholesterol and then there is bad cholesterol. So it varies among different patients. The age ranges from pediatrics for little babies all the way up to geriatrics for the elderly and retired."

Ensuring Airmen receive the appropriate treatment they need to successfully complete the mission is the ultimate goal of the 509th MDSS medical laboratory team.

"I enjoy assisting the providers with diagnosing Airmen," Staff Sgt. Jon Ringenoldus, 509th Medical Support Squadron medical laboratory technician. "I do it because I enjoy seeing Airmen get healthy once more so they can contribute as a fighting force for our Air Force!"