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Laboratory

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About our lab
Frequently asked questions
Helpful links

About our lab

At Skiff Medical Center Laboratory, our goal is to provide you and your health-care providers with diagnostic information that is accurate and delivered in a timely manner. We also provide test results for health screening and monitoring purposes.

The Skiff Medical Center Laboratory employs both medical technologists (MT) and medical laboratory technicians (MLT). MTs usually have a bachelor's degree in medical technology or the life sciences that included three or four years of course work and one year of clinical experience. MLTs have an associate degree and have completed an accredited CLT/MLT program.

The lab handles inpatient and outpatient needs for patients of all ages. Tests performed on site include the areas of blood bank, blood work labs, chemistry, coagulation, hematology, microbiology, serology and urinalysis.  We also perform drug screen collections for employment.

Blood products for transfusions are obtained from LifeServe Blood Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

You may donate your own blood (autologous donation) for a planned surgical procedure when a blood transfusion might be necessary. Ask your physician about this option.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What do I need to do to have a test done?
A. All testing requires an order from a health-care professional. Doctors' orders may be phoned or faxed from the office or you may bring the order to the laboratory at the time of service. The laboratory welcomes orders from out-of-town physicians as well as local providers. Please stop at the business office before coming to the laboratory.

Q. What hours may I come for outpatient testing?
A. The lab is open for outpatients 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m.-noon, Saturday.

Q. Do I need an appointment to have my blood drawn?
A. Most tests do not require an appointment. However, please call the lab at (641) 791-4320 to schedule glucose tolerance tests (for diabetes or hypoglycemia), sweat chlorides, therapeutic phlebotomies and employment drug screens. Some tests such as semen analysis and 24-hour urine collections require specific instructions. Call or stop in to the laboratory before collection.

Q. My test asks me to be fasting. What does this mean?
A. In most cases, fasting is not eating or drinking 12 hours prior to testing. For laboratory tests, you may have water. However, fasting can vary and if you have any questions, you should contact your physician`s office to verify what they would like you to do.

Q. How long will it take before my doctor has results?
A. The answer to this can vary a great deal depending on the nature of the testing, processing time, etc. All work will be forwarded to your doctor in a timely manner. Stat testing or critical work is prioritized and your physician will be contacted immediately when results are complete.

Q. Can I get a copy of my results?
A. If your doctor has provided the lab with an order to give results to you, then the laboratory staff may release results to you. If the doctor has not provided such an order, you may obtain a copy of your results by contacting the department of health information management.

Q. If it only takes a very small amount of blood for the test, why do you need to draw a whole tube? How much blood is in the tube that is sent to the blood work lab?
A.The specimen is collected in a tube that is a standard size designed to fit into analyzers in the blood work labs and be easily handled by the phlebotomist during the draw. The quantity of blood taken is somewhat more than needed to ensure there are sufficient amounts for any repeat testing needed to confirm a result and to prevent you from having to return for another draw. Blood tubes come in different sizes. Some hold as little as 2 ml (two-fifths of a teaspoon), some hold as much as 10 ml (two teaspoons). Most hold around 5 or 6 mls (one teaspoon = 5 ml). Capillary collection tubes, as used for babies, hold 0.25 ml to 1.0 ml.

Q. How much blood is in my body?
A. The average adult weighs about 154 pounds, which makes the total volume about 5 liters (5000 ml), or 5.3 quarts.

Q. Why do some people faint from having their blood drawn?
A. An involuntary reaction in the brain can cause the blood pressure to drop temporarily. Outpatients are more likely to faint than inpatients because they are usually sitting up during the procedure. If you tend to get lightheaded from blood testing or you are already feeling weak from fasting or illness, you should request to have your blood drawn while in a reclining position. This will help prevent or minimize fainting and avoid injury due to falling. Our staff will appreciate the communication.

Q. What if my question isn't listed above?
A. Please contact your physician for further instructions or call our laboratory at (641) 791-4320.

Helpful links

To find out more about the LifeServe Blood Center in Des Moines, including information about donating blood, visit www.lifeservebloodcenter.org.

For general information about laboratory tests, click here.

Are you interested in a laboratory career? Information about laboratory careers is available here.

You may also visit the following sites for lab-related college programs in Iowa.

Bachelor's degree medical technologist programs:

Associate degree medical laboratory technician programs:

Skiff Medical Center
204 N. 4th Ave E.
Newton, Iowa 50208
Phone: (641) 792-1273
Toll-free: (888) 792-1273

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At Skiff, the best care is close to home.
Skiff Medical Center, a member of Mercy Health Network, is located in Newton, Iowa. We provide services to Jasper County residents in all major health areas, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, hospice, home care, laboratory, respiratory, audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The Skiff Specialty Clinic hosts more than 20 physicians specializing in cardiology, dermatology, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, pulmonology and urology.
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