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The Lab: Then and Now

Former McKellar General Hospital Lab Manager Returns for Visit; Warmly Remembered

By Heather Vita - April 1, 2017

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Former Lab Manager at McKellar General Hospital, Michael Davies, pictured back row, was warmly welcomed for a tour of the lab at the Health Sciences Centre recently. Many current and former staff were delighted to see him. Those who worked with him, like Susan Mintenko (3rd from right, back row) recall the very high standards he ingrained in his team.

Michael Davies sure knows how to leave a lasting impression. When word got out that the former Lab Manager at McKellar General Hospital was coming to the Health Sciences Centre for a tour of the Lab, current and former staff were clamoring to come say hello.

“You would not believe the buzz that was going on in the lab when I told people Mr. Davies was coming to visit,” said Georgia Carr, Manager of Laboratory Services. “He’s a legend; staff were even telling me they’d come in on their days off to see him!”

Mr. Davies himself has been retired for over twenty years, however he is obviously still well loved. Susan Mintenko, a Medical Laboratory Technologist who worked with Mr. Davies for many years, recalled, “When I first met him, I thought he was typical British, or what I thought of as British – somewhat unapproachable, or at least in my mind. What I came to learn very quickly however, was that he just had very high standards, and expected that from all his staff. Those standards became ingrained in you; they were expected. Anybody who worked under him had very high standards and those have carried on even though he’s left.”

Continued Ms. Mintenko, “You did your job and you did it to the best of your ability and with utter honesty, integrity and patients first, all the time. That’s what Mr. Davies taught us and it’s why so many of us have come back to see him; he’s a real leader. He constantly had our backs. If you did something wrong, as long as you told him, he would defend you. We knew he really cared about us.”

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Michael Davies, former Lab Manager at McKellar General Hospital (pictured centre), learns about all the changes that have been implemented in the lab at the Health Sciences Centre from Georgia Carr, current Manager of Laboratory Services. Also pictured, from are, Wendy Gouliquer (standing), Microbiology Coordinator, with (L-R at the bench Sarah Vanderleest, Kelly Ward and Adam Scott – all Medical Laboratory Technologists in Microbiology).

Ms. Mintenko went on to point out the vital role staff in the lab play to patient care. “Do people realize, that at 2 a.m. in the morning, I could be the first one to realize that the lady in the Emerg has leukemia? It all starts with us, and I have to do my job properly so everything can move forward.”

For his part, Mr. Davies was a bit surprised at the reception he received. “It’s lovely to see so many familiar faces after so many years,” he said. “The lab has certainly changed since our days at McKellar.”

Changed it has. Currently the lab is responsible for 2.4 million tests annually; a staggering amount and one that is much higher than what was performed at McKellar. The lab’s physical footprint is also much larger, with more equipment on site, much of it automated.

While the equipment may have changed, the pride staff have for the laboratory certainly hasn’t. And it extends to Mr. Davies too. “We were and still are the hospital workhorse that’s unseen. However it is essential that we perform our roles diligently and with the greatest care so that patients are diagnosed and cared for properly. It is very reassuring to see that the lab, under its current leadership, has maintained the exemplary care we were able to provide at McKellar. I’m very grateful I was invited back for a look.”

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