Transplant Athlete
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
  LABCORP Must Die

I've been going to the LabCorp facility in Sterling since 1998. Back then, it was two Phlebotomists in one cramped room. One would process a patient on the computer and then draw blood. While the first was drawing blood, the second would start processing the next patient. The room was packed with equipment making it appear even smaller, but it did have its own bathroom. Now, that probably wasn't the most sanitary situation, but it worked for me.

Over the years, they've made at least two major renovations to the patient area. In the first renovation, they added more space and were drawing blood in a room that wasn't attached to a bathroom. During the construction phase of the most recent renovation, they were back drawing blood in the original room attached to the bathroom. The new facility is much bigger and has several draw stations a separate bathroom and a reasonably large waiting area. At times, I've seen as many as 6 people to draw blood and process patients. The funny thing is...They've actually gotten slower. Six people are now doing the workload of two. How bizarre is that?

The past three times I've gone there, they've made me wait a minimum 1 hour to a maximum of 2.5 hours. On what planet is it ok to make someone wait 1.5 hours to get their blood drawn when you have 4 people standing around doing nothing? It is important. For instance, the blood tests for my Prograf levels must be taken 12 hours after my last dose. If my blood is taken 14 hours after my last dose, the results will be much lower and it will appear like I need more medication. The same is true for pregnant women getting a glucose tolerance test done. Wait too long to draw blood and the results are meaningless or possibly even dangerous. i should also mentioned that the tests I get require me to be fasting.

I have kids, I take them with me. After an hour of sitting around, they get antsy. The last time I was at LabCorp I was told to keep them quiet because they were bothering the other patients. At that point I wanted to tell the kids to scream their little lungs out, because none of the other patients seemed to mind and since they were also waiting an inordinate amount of time, I think they probably felt like screaming too. The kids have been so antsy by the time they take me back, that I've put them in my lap while I've had my blood drawn. Otherwise, I'm afraid they would run around and I'd get yelled at.

This past Wednesday, I went in for blood work. I attempted to remind them that the Immuknow test is a STAT test and they have to call a courier for pickup. "That's not our policy. Unless the Doctor writes on the slip that it's a STAT test, we can't process it that way." I replied, "I don't need the results STAT, you need to process it STAT."
"That's not our policy. Sir" They called my Doctor, but the office wasn't open yet, but it was pretty darn close, so I said, "please try their direct number here it is..."
"That's Not Our Policy Sir. We only call the number on the slip. If they wanted us to have their direct number they would put it on the slip." They said I could wait and they would draw everything together, or I could get the Prograf done now and they would have to stick me twice. Since I had been waiting an hour and twenty minutes at this point, I said, "Stick me twice." They took me back and I pulled the kids into my lap.
"That's not our policy sir. For the safety of our Sticker, they cannot be in your lap" The woman in charge put Q and RJ on an exam table, but I pulled RJ down. All I needed was for him to wiggle off the exam table onto the concrete floor. They drew an extra vial of blood, but they didn't know what tube to use, so I knew they would have to draw another one. I took the kids back into the waiting room and we waited another twenty minutes before I went up and asked if they had talked with the doctor yet. Nope, but that was going to be their very next call. Sure I believe you. Another 15 minutes goes by and they call me in. The woman who kept reciting "Its not our policy..." tried to explain herself, but I was livid and hungry, the kids were thirsty. Obviously, there was a lot of stuff that was either newly banned, or it just wasn't enforced before.

There was a notice on the door that said as of February 12th, they would only be doing Drug Testing at that facility; so I couldn't go back if I wanted to. I think there is one other lab in the area that does blood testing and accepts my insurance.

So Long LabCorp and Thanks for all the fish.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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