By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor
"Making sure Soldiers are physically healthy and ready to
perform their missions," is the way Staff Sgt. Jennifer Baker
explained the importance of the medical laboratory at the Troop
Medical Clinic at Fort McCoy.
Staff Sgt. Jennifer Baker (left),
places a patient's blood sample into a testing machine. Medical
Technician Wendy Schultz and Medical Lab NCO Staff Sgt. Antoine
Ferrus, also are pictured. (Photo
by Tom Michele)
Baker is the NCOIC at the lab on the west side of the McCoy
cantonment area. Much of the medical lab's mission at McCoy includes
checking Soldiers going through mobilization and demobilization.
Medical Technologist Karen Munson said, "We perform many
different functions to check the health of a Soldier. We do chemical
tests that include drawing (taking) a vial of blood that shows many of
the different levels of a person's physical condition."
"Some of those areas include how well the kidney and liver
are functioning, glucose and electrolyte levels, if the blood is in an
anemic condition, and if there are any infections in the blood,"
Munson said lab technicians also do pregnancy tests,
urinalysis, cardiac risk test, and a test for strep throat.
"The lab assists the MOB screening by processing specimens
from the Soldier Readiness Center not far up the street and where
every MOB-DEMOB Soldier goes through," she said.
"We are forecasting as many Soldiers will go through our
process this year as went through last year," Munson said.
"This is all important because we are part of the primary medical
facility to make sure Soldiers are healthy before they deploy overseas
and also when they demobilize from their tour."
Baker said healthy Soldiers "conserve the fighting
strength of the force, and that is our primary focus. That is for the
medical health and welfare of the force."
Along with Baker and Munson at the lab are Staff Sgt. Antoine
Ferrus, a medical lab NCO; Wendy Schultz, a medical technologist; and
Spc. Hayley Hilderbrand, a medical lab specialist. Medical lab
professionals assist physicians and nurses in the diagnosis, treatment
and disease monitoring process. Lab techs provide vital information
that saves lives, reduces morbidity and helps control the cost of
(Michele is a public affairs specialist for
Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base