UPMC Hanover’s lab team among the unsung heroes of COVID-19

Monica Salisbury considers it an honor to be part of the UPMC Hanover Laboratory team, where she leads a courageous team in the detection of COVID-19.

Written by: Rebecca Hanlon
Story paid for by: UPMC Hanover
Monica Salisbury, a laboratory supervisor at UPMC Hanover, says she sees a light at the end of the pandemic. (Photo by Orendorff Studios for Our York Media)

Nearly everyone working in the hospital carries the same mental burden these days: During an emergency, do they take a moment to put on rubber gloves, gowns, and eye protection, or do they jump right in to save the life?

“Without hesitation, we save the life,” says Monica Salisbury, MLT (ASCP), POCS (AACC).

As one of the laboratory supervisors at UPMC Hanover, Salisbury has watched her phlebotomy team and all laboratory personnel — both on site and off site staff — finding themselves in such situations lately, rising to the occasion under the weight of COVID-19.

Behind every doctor ordering tests and every nurse administering care, there’s a team of people often unseen working on behalf of the patient. They are the unsung heroes in Salisbury’s mind.

“I look at my team as incredibly courageous, and no matter the task at hand, they took it on,” she says. “They were there for the patients, stepping up to do the work in a profession that demands us to be selfless. I have so much respect. They are just amazing.”

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People working in the laboratory tend to be extra cautious already, Salisbury says. They regularly collect specimens for infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV, and other known viruses. But the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 makes every day a little more challenging.

Now, nearly a year after the pandemic first struck the region, things have gotten a little easier, Salisbury says. There’s regular communication between hospital leadership and those who have direct contact with patients.

And as the virus becomes better understood and vaccinations roll out, there’s a light that Salisbury sees at the end of the pandemic.

She’s not approaching that destination alone.

“We all faced this fear of the unknown when COVID-19 arrived,” Salisbury says. “I would not have wanted to go through this with anybody else. To be part of the UPMC Hanover Laboratory team is an honor.”

Story paid for by UPMC

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