Specialized workers ensure the safety of the blood supply locally and nationwide

The American Red Cross of Utah recognizes local scientists, technicians and medical professionals during the 49th annual Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, held from April 14-20. This dedicated team of health care workers meticulously collects and tests donated blood, ensuring the well-being of the community and patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions or treatments.

Dr. Walter Kelley, Medical Director for the Rocky Mountain Division of the American Red Cross based in Salt Lake City, highlighted the indispensable role of laboratory professionals. He stated, “Whether working behind the scenes or in the community, laboratory professionals are essential members of your health care team. Their contributions significantly enhance patient safety, care quality, and cost effectiveness.”

In Utah and across the nation, Red Cross laboratory professionals maintain stringent standards vital for recipients of donated blood. “As a major provider of approximately 40% of the nation’s blood supply, we annually collect, test and distribute over 6 million lifesaving blood products,” Dr. Kelley said. “This monumental task is made possible through the dedication of our lab team.”

Ensuring blood supply safety

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. requires blood; however, before reaching those in need, each unit undergoes more than a dozen tests conducted by lab professionals to ensure its safety for transfusion. The Red Cross employs over 2,200 laboratory and manufacturing experts at 146 labs and distribution facilities nationwide to facilitate this critical process.

“As someone who’s seen firsthand the impact of medical lab professionals, I can attest to the vital role they play in our health care system,” Dr. Kelley said. “Their tireless efforts, from testing to diagnoses, are often unseen yet undeniably lifesaving.”

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week history

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week was established in 1975 to enhance understanding and appreciation of the scientists, technicians and lab assistants who contribute significantly to every aspect of health care.

Celebrate Medical Laboratory Professionals Week by donating blood

The Red Cross of Utah encourages residents to schedule a blood donation appointment this week to support a consistent blood supply. Appointments can be conveniently booked through the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). If immediate slots are unavailable, donors are encouraged to book future appointments to help maintain a steady blood supply.