THE IFCC PROFESSIONAL SCIENTIFIC EXCHANGE PROGRAMME (PSEP)
By Jorge Díaz-Garzón Marco,
Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain
I had the chance to spend three months at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), Minnesota, where I could understand how it is composed and designed a US laboratory, including workflow, healthcare crew (physicians, technicians, phlebotomists etc) and the differences with the Spanish laboratory. I went over all the clinical laboratories included in the HCMC (overview, analyzers, methodology, etc) such as the toxicology, Core, POCT, emergency and molecular laboratory. One of the departments that should be highlighted is the POCT lab. I attended a weekly meeting at POCT, learning the workways and the different strategies that they develop to assure patient safety and a quality POCT system.
I divided my learning in two main topics, forensic toxicology and cardiac biomarkers; I used to meet once or twice per week with Dr. Fred Apple (Cardiac markers) and Dr. Sara Love (Toxicology), delving into the knowledge, clarifying doubts related with the matter and taking advantage of being in the same place with these recognized people.
It has been a pleasure to learn and research about cardiac biomarkers with Dr. Fred Apple. He has the capacity of motivating anyone. Despite being an expert in cardiac troponin, he can engage in conversation with others, treating them as his equals, taking into account their opinions.
I attended the toxicology rounds weekly, where the forensic physicians showed their last cases and the toxicology lab used to release the drug test information available after the autopsy; everyone shared knowledge and gave opinions on the different cases. I learnt from Dr. Sara Love and the rest of the forensic team about the process and methodology of analyzing forensic samples, from getting the sample from the corpse and performing it in the analyzer (MS pack) up to reporting and interpreting the result.
I kindly appreciate the support of IFCC for giving me the opportunity of staying at HCMC during these amazing months and I am deeply grateful to my Spanish colleagues for helping me to achieve this objective, especially to my PhD supervisor Dr. Pilar Fernández- Calle and my chief Dr. Antonio Buno as well as to all the HCMC crew; I would also like to express my gratitude towards Silvia Colli Lanzi and John Medeiros.
Fred Apple, Jan Apple and Jorge at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), Minnesota