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Circle of Life Votes for MALDI-TOF

MALDI-TOF is a laboratory procedure that will have great importance to patient care at our Hospital. This strange acronym stands for “matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization – time of flight.”       

Currently, if a patient is ill and an undetermined infection is suspected, a sample is taken (blood, urine, stool, etc.) and a lab technician then tries to grow that organism in the laboratory.

They wait, and wait, and when the sample is mature enough (perhaps three days after collection), it is then placed under the microscope where a lab technologist tries to identify what the organism is. They then label it in very general terms such as staph or strep.

But, with MALDI-TOF, they can take what’s growing at an early stage, and through some complex science involving proteins, make a final and very accurate identification in as little as just 50 minutes!

The speed and accuracy of specimen identification using MALDI-TOF will have a profound impact on patient care…

Imagine a mom, having just given birth to a beautiful baby boy. But it’s suspected the baby has an infection due to the circumstances of his birth, so he is placed in the Special Care Nursery until the possibility of an infection is ruled out.

Mom and baby are separated for three days while they wait for the test results. Mom can visit the baby in the nursery as much as she likes, but it is not how this new mom imagined spending the first days together with her son.

Three days pass by and the test results are returned negative. Mom is overjoyed that she and her baby boy can make their way home and be close together at last, but those three days waiting were filled with anguish.

Had MALDI-TOF been available, mom and baby may have spent only hours apart. Imagine the difference this would have made to this new mom’s experience, and to her newborn baby.

This is just one example of how a patient’s experience could be shaped more positively by having this new technology at our Hospital.

The quality of identification with MALDI-TOF is state-of-the-art and much more reliable than current methods. It will lead to faster diagnosis and treatment of infections.  It will mean patients can get on the right antibiotic sooner, and home sooner. And, our physicians will be able to make more precise antibiotic choices, which is important in these days of antibiotic resistant infections.

The benefits extend beyond patient care and into operational efficiencies including faster in-house work with fewer referrals to Public Health. MALDI-TOF will also replace up to 25 identification methods currently employed. It is estimated that the Hospital will save approximately $25,000 per year in supply and test costs, and it is the greener option with less waste.

Wow! We are so grateful to our Circle of Life Members for voting yes to this project and for pledging to fund its purchase.

Circle of Life is a collective giving program. Each year, the membership jointly selects one of three priority projects to fund. Circle of Life members are committed to helping our community have access to exceptional healthcare, and we are truly grateful for their commitment and support. With a minimum $1,500 annual pledge, you too can join the Circle of Life to help fund important patient care projects like MALDI-TOF. For more information on Circle of Life, click here.