SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (The Daily Dish) – This week marks the 46th annual Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, recognizing the hard work of those behind the scenes who make sure that blood donations are safe and ready for patients in need. These medical laboratory professionals are responsible for testing blood, ensuring it is prepared in a safe way, and matching blood samples in a specific way, especially for patients with complex medical needs.

Dr. Walter Kelley, Divisional Chief Medical Officer at American Red Cross Blood Services, Western Division, spoke about the importance of recognizing these professionals who often go unnoticed. “When you’re behind the scenes, you know that patients are getting the blood that they need, and the donors are coming in and providing a valuable service,” he said. “But you’re sort of unseen, so recognition really does a lot to keep these scientists engaged.”

The American Red Cross is putting a lot of effort into making sure that their teams behind the scenes know that they are appreciated. Dr. Kelley encouraged the public to acknowledge these professionals, especially if they know someone who is a medical laboratory professional. The best way to show appreciation, however, is to donate blood. “If people make an appointment and come and donate, then our folks behind the scenes will actually have what they need when it comes time to find sometimes very, very special blood units for patients,” he explained.

The public can also learn more about becoming a medical laboratory professional or scheduling a blood donation by visiting the Red Cross website or downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor app. Dr. Kelley emphasized the importance of having enough blood available in the blood bank so that when it comes time to find the right unit, there is a diverse pool of donors to choose from.

Medical laboratory professionals play a crucial role in ensuring that patients receive safe and effective blood transfusions. This week, let’s recognize their hard work and dedication to saving lives.