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Laboratory Services

Laboratory Departments

Blood Bank             

The Blood Bank Department is responsible for supplying the Hospital and the Cancer Center with the safest blood possible for transfusion.  Patient’s blood is tested for blood type and any potential antibodies.  Donor blood is cross-matched to the patient’s blood prior to transfusion.  All units of blood products are procured from the American Red Cross in Dedham Massachusetts. 

Chemistry               

The Chemistry Department determines the concentrations of certain chemicals in blood, urine and other bodily fluids.  The concentrations of these chemicals can be used to indicate disease processes, monitor medications, and diagnose infectious disease. 

Hematology                       

The hematology department is comprised of hematology, coagulation and urinalysis. 

Hematology is the study of blood cells.  The number and appearance of each cell type in the blood, and the overall proportion of cells to plasma can be used to diagnose disease states and determine the general health of a patient.  Although performing blood counts or CBCs is an automated process, much of the work in hematology is performed by a technologist looking at the cells under a microscope.

Coagulation is the study of the body’s clotting process.  Different medications and disease states will change how quickly clotting will occur.  In this area of the laboratory, instruments add different chemicals to patient blood and time how long it takes to clot.  The results allow physicians to adjust medications and diagnose syndromes that prevent clotting or accelerate clotting.

Urinalysis is the analysis of urine.  The urine is tested for certain chemicals by automated instruments.  Crystals, blood cells, microorganisms and other structures are detected by viewing the urine under a microscope.  The urine of a health individual is sterile and is free of cells, crystals and microorganisms. 

Microbiology

The microbiology department identifies bacteria, parasites, fungi and other microorganisms that cause disease in patients.  This is generally done by inoculating a sample onto an agar plate and incubating it until the microorganism grows.  Samples are placed on slides, stained and viewed under a microscope.  Additional testing is performed to identify the microorganism and determine what medications will cure the infection. 

Pathology   

The pathology department prepares tissues and body fluids to be viewed microscopically by a pathologist.  The specially stained slides allow the pathologist to differentiate normal tissues from those that demonstrate evidence of infectious diseases, tumors or other abnormalities.

Phlebotomy           

The phlebotomy department is responsible for blood specimen collection for inpatients, outpatients, patient in the emergency department and draws for home bound patients.  Inpatient and emergency department specimen collection is available 24 hours per day.  Outpatient services are available at three convenient locations:

  • Center for Orthopedics, Spine and Sports Medicine
    2 Pond Park Drive, Hingham
  • South Shore Hospital
    55 Fogg Road, 1st Floor Emerson Building, South Weymouth

Point of Care Testing (POCT)    

As technology advances, some testing devices have become small enough to carry to the patient’s bedside.  South Shore hospital currently performs the following POCT testing:

  • Whole Blood Glucose
  • Activated Clotting Time
  • Creatinine
  • Protime/INR 
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Hemaglobin & Hematocrit 

Specimen Processing

The Specimen Processing Department is responsible for preparing the specimens for analysis.  It logs the specimens into the computer system, centrifuges any specimens that require separation and distributes the specimens to the appropriate testing sites.  It is also responsible for preparing specimens to be sent to reference laboratories for testing not performed at South Shore Hospital and ensuring reports are received by the ordering physicians.

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