Mercy Health Love County - News

New Laboratory Director Joins Hospital

Posted on Friday, April 28th, 2023

New Laboratory Director Touts the Profession
And Serves the Community

 Medical Laboratory Director John P. Galano of Mercy Health Love County Hospital has an inside tip for good science students and aspiring nurses.

Don’t overlook the laboratory as a great place for a career in healthcare.  Laboratory professional is among the 100 best jobs, according to the U.S. News & World Report annual career survey.

Galano knows. He had intended to major in nursing but he changed his mind and walked through the door called clinical laboratory scientist.

“I had been admitted to a college nursing program. I graduated instead with the laboratory science bachelor’s degree then stayed an extra year for a master’s degree in public health,” he said.  Both degrees are from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah.

In 2014 Galano received his licensure as a medical laboratory technologist and joined the profession known as the “detectives of the medical world.” That is because laboratory testers help doctors form a diagnosis of what has gone wrong with the patient’s health. 

The hospital lab is hardly restricted to hospital patients.  It reaches deep into the community, and its essential nature for Love County is one of the attractions to Galano in joining the staff as lab director in December 2022.

“The lab serves the clinic, we serve industry by performing employment testing, we serve the jail, the nursing home, and the home health care agencies who have Love County patients. We also serve area patients who have doctors in Ardmore or elsewhere,” Galano said.

The ability to have lab work done locally  is especially convenient for county patients undergoing tests that must be preceded by a fasting period, and for their follow-up testing as well.

The most common specimens used in laboratory testing are blood and urine. Many different tests detect and measure chemical components of these specimens. Components may include blood glucose, electrolytes, enzymes, hormones, lipids (fats), other metabolic substances, and proteins.

Abnormal components point to specific diseases as the cause. The laboratory tests give physicians the clinical evidence to back up or disprove their “hunches” and proceed with the medical care appropriate for the diagnosis.

In emergency care, rapid testing is demanded. Physicians need clinical confirmation of a heart attack or other serious condition.  “It takes a lot of schooling and training to respond to an emergency. You have to stay calm, take the steps in order and trust your training and experience,” Galano said.

For years, the Mercy Health Love County laboratory has consistently led the quarterly turn- around-time rankings for rural hospitals affiliated with the Mercy System in Oklahoma.  The award means the key tests for emergency patients are completed with accuracy faster here than other places.  That is a compliment to the lab staff under the former director Kelvin McMillan and a continuing goal of Galano’s.

Another responsibility of the laboratory is to maintain an inventory of blood so it is always available in case of a medical trauma. The laboratory carefully tests patients to properly match blood types with the donated blood on hand.

Much attention also is paid to assuring that the machines that conduct the chemical analyses on patient specimens are operational and correctly calibrated.  “We have daily, weekly, and monthly testing,” Galano said.

Galano and the lab staff would like to attract local students to pursue laboratory science.  Just visiting the lab or knowing someone who works there can make a difference.

It did for John Galano. One of the reasons he chose laboratory science instead of nursing was the influence of his wife, Gay.

She has been a laboratory technologist at Mercy Health Love County for 20 years. The couple has a 18-year-old daughter, Adrianna,  who soon will be college bound  with an interest in the medical field.

Carla Brown is the laboratory’s phlebotomist. She is celebrating her tenth anniversary as the professional who draws blood samples.

Richard Acayan has been the weekend laboratory technologist since 2007.

JoAnn Carney is a part-time technologist.

On the COVID front, the laboratory continues to process tests nearly every day. But, Galano reported, the positivity rate has dropped to a low of 5%. That meets the Oklahoma Department of Health guidelines for allowing the hospital to drop the masking requirement for patients and visitors, unless they have had recent exposure to someone with COVID.