Going above and beyond is a common characteristic among many LMP staff, and Sandeep Uppal, a lab technician in the Toronto Western Hospital’s Blood Collection ECG Lab, proved her commitment to excellent patient care when she acted quickly to ensure an at risk pre-admission patient in the LMP’s ECG lab received the immediate care he needed in the TWH emergency department (ER).
Sandeep Uppal is a laboratory technician at Toronto Western Hospital, and provides direct patient care as a member of the Laboratory Medicine Program. She serves both in and out patients, does sample sorting, helps with specimen collection, conducts blood collection, and performs electrocardiogram (ECG) procedures.
Recently, when an elderly, male, pre-admission patient came in for an ECG test, Sandeep quickly realized the patient wasn’t feeling well. She repeatedly asked how he was doing and if everything felt alright, and repeatedly was reassured by the patient that he was fine.
“I think he just didn’t want to be a bother,” said Sandeep. “He was with his son too, so he might have been acting strong just for him.”
Despite the patient’s reassuring, Sandeep began keeping a close watch on him, and when she had the patient lie down for his ECG test, she noticed labored breathing and a difficulty to lay back flat.
“His condition definitely stood out to me,” said Sandeep. “But I just did whatever I could to make the patient as comfortable as possible.”
Although she was concerned with the patient’s well-being, Sandeep still wanted information from the ECG before reacting. When a pulse was eventually shown on the machine, Sandeep was shocked to see an incredibly low beats per minute.
“I had never seen a pulse that low,” said Sandeep when recounting the events. “I was shocked, but I knew I had to stay calm and not alarm the patient and his son.”
She immediately took the patient back to pre-admission, and had the anesthesiologist alerted to the patient’s condition. The planned surgery was quickly put aside, and the patient was rushed to ER and admitted right away.
When Sandeep got back to the Blood Collection ECG Lab, she put the patient’s blood work on hold to keep it from being sent to the Core Lab, and made sure it went through rapid response to the doctors in the ER in order to ensure a faster turnaround time on the results.
The patient, who was originally scheduled for an unrelated surgery that day, ended up having an emergency pace maker implanted shortly after Sandeep’s quick, preventative actions.
When asked about her quick thinking on behalf of the patient, Sandeep says, “It’s my job; it’s second nature to me. My first instinct is to do everything possible for the patient. It’s why we’re here: to provide the best care possible to all our patients.”