I Love Nurses!
A few minutes ago, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed a bill to revamp the health care system
Celebrating the passage of the bill, President Barack Obama, surrounded by nursing leaders at the White House , proclaimed "I love nurses!" This is the third time I have heard Obama repeat that sentiment. He talked about the time when one of his daughters had meningitis and , despite the fine work of the doctors, it was nurses who were there to take care of the child as well as comfort the parents.
The President made no mention of the fact that it was clinical laboratorians who provided the data for a definitive diagnosis, which would then guide treatment. Meningitis is positively confirmed only through laboratory testing.
He described that during the birth of both his girls the OB/Gyn was present for "a total of maybe 10 minutes. The rest of the time the people we saw were nurses. I know how important nurses are."
Again, I bet those infants had their cord blood tested, possibly bilirubin, certainly there was a host of new born screening tests including sickle cell, PKU and a host of others. I do not fault the President for ignoring the importance of clinical lab scientists. Certainly his view of us as a transparent profession is typical of society as a whole.
It is commendable when people, including the President, start realizing that doctors are not the only important players in healthcare. But they need to realize that others, including CLS/CLTs are vitally important as well.
As the debate on universal healthcare proceeds and heats up, we have yet another golden opportunity to explain to family, politicians, healthcare leaders and policy wonks that- whatever the outcome- clinical laboratory scientists must have a seat at the table.