Health Plus: Where does your blood go in the hospital? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Where does your blood go in the hospital?

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Blood tests are so common, you'll likely get many of them in your lifetime. So where does that blood go once it's removed from your arm? Blood tests are so common, you'll likely get many of them in your lifetime. So where does that blood go once it's removed from your arm?
WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Blood tests are so common, you'll likely get many of them in your lifetime.

So where does that blood go once it's removed from your arm?

For over 30 years, Jackie VanKamen has worked with blood.

"Automation is a big part of it, but we're highly educated in the laboratory," she said. "We are behind the walls and people don't see us, but the physicians -- we are their right-hand man."

The lead medical technologist at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo oversees thousands of blood tests in the hospital lab.

"On an average day, we do about 10,000 test results," she said.

It's an unseen but crucial process in diagnosing patients.

"There's many different lab tests being done and physicians depend on us to give them accurate lab results because I'd say about 70 percent of their diagnosis would be based on your laboratory tests," she said.

VanKamen says technological advances in blood testing have improved dramatically since she started.

"We do now amplification of bacterias and DNA on some tests here," she said.

And where does that blood go?

"We put it on a machine. You put it on and set it for 45 minutes, you don't have to do extractions and all of these other processes that we used to do," she said. "I see more like that coming in the future -- more automation."

Covenant Medical Center's lab is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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