LabCorp Never Again
July 23, 2020
Every six months, I need to get blood work done to test for my hypothyroidism. I was a bit nervous about having my blood taken during a pandemic. Needless to say, I had to get the bloodwork done to make sure my health is in check.
For my routine blood work I usually go to the local Labcorp, and I know what you are thinking, the wait times are so long, you have to go first thing in the morning. You can now make appointments, and generally speaking, you are in and out like a regular doctor’s office. So I made my appointment at the beginning of the month, as usual, to try to keep my exposure limited.
The days leading up to the appointment, I started to get a little anxious as I am trying to adhere to limiting my exposure to the public during this pandemic. I reassured myself by thinking that this is a national medical facility. They must have a strict and orderly procedure to keep it safe for the public, right? WRONG! At least my local LabCorp didn’t follow any protocol.
I arrived 10 min before my 10:45 appointment. Walking up to the door, I saw a large poster and three smaller posters on the door. I consider myself intelligent, but this was overwhelming, and my thoughts were, by the time I figure out what to do here, I will be late for my appointment. So I decided to go in and ask what they needed/wanted me to do.
Walking through the door was like any other day at Labcorp before the pandemic, only this time without chairs, so everyone was standing around with masks. They moved the three check-in kiosks to the back wall where people were scattered around them, trying to keep 6 feet apart. I walked up to the front desk window to see one woman at her computer who didn’t acknowledge me. One of the patrons informed me I had to use the kiosk to sign in. I didn’t see them initially because of the people and went to the front desk. So I proceed to do the tablet check-in.
My first thought looking at the kiosk was, “how many people have touched this before me?” I can see all the finger marks on there, gross. Clearly, this facility is not sanitizing them after each use. Not like my local Athleta, where I had to make a return from an online order, and they wipe down the entire counter between customers….
Meanwhile, while I’m at the kiosk, I hear the lady in the back yell out someone’s name, and hear some of the fellow patrons say, “what was the name called?” The lady in the back didn’t even get out of her chair to come to the window. She just sat back there yelling, seems inefficient.
Back to my check-in, I get to the last question: enter your phone number and wait in your car. You will get a text message to return for your appointment. At this point, it’s 10:50, and the lady in the back is yelling names, so I don’t fill out my phone number and stay with the others.
Another 5 minutes go by, and the lady in the back has called 3-4 names. One of them responds, and the rest are who knows where probably in their cars. A few more people enter the room, and as I did, they tried to find a safe distance to stand in the small waiting room. Another lady from the back comes to the window and says, “There are too many people in the waiting room, you all need to leave, and we will text you when you can come back in.” So with that, I walk out, I’m the closest to the door, so I figure people are following me.
I walk into the building’s lobby and stand there for about 2 minutes and realize I was the only one that left. That the lady in there is still yelling out names from the back, and it’s 15 minutes past my appointment. I didn’t put my phone number into the system, so how can they get a hold of me? What the hell is happening here, I had a freaking appointment?!
I walk back in, and go to the front desk window and say, “Excuse me, I had an appointment at 10:45. Do you know when I will be called?” The lady responds, “Did you check-in?” I reply, “Yes, on the kiosk.” She says, “Did you come back here and check-in?” I reply, “No, I haven’t,” she then asks for my name and paperwork to “check me in.” She notifies me that there are a few people in front of me, and I will be called shortly. What the hell was the kiosk for?! Frustration sets in.
I position myself between the fake plant and the window. As I stand there with the others, I feel uncomfortable and annoyed. This is why I made a freaking appointment to avoid this situation.
As about five more people funnel in, I realize I’m not in a safe standing distance from them, so I walk across the room and prop myself up against the window. At this point, there are at least 15 people in the small waiting room. The lady comes to the window and repeats herself, “You all have to leave the waiting room there is way too many people here, and we will text you when we are ready for you to come back.” Everyone looks at each other, but no one moves. Seconds later, the other lady starts shouting out names again.
I am enraged. I have been standing in this room for a 1/2 hour now. I had an appointment! Where is the order? Why is this medical facility allowing this? It is incredibly unsafe to have this many people unable to distance themselves, and no one is taking action. I can’t leave; they have my paperwork. I have to stay now.
While names shouted from the back, more people were walking in. Not one person has been seen yet. The room is becoming dense. The lady repeats herself, “You all have to leave the waiting room. There are way too many people in here, and we will text you when we are ready for you to come back.” The response is the same, no one moves. The girl next to me says “I am really uncomfortable, I am a nurse and I’m here for a random drug test, so I have to be here, but there are too many people in here.”
It’s now 45 min past my appointment, and there have to be about 20 people in the waiting room. Then it happens, five names are called to go in the back, I’m one of them.
I go to my assigned spot, and the woman who arrives to take my blood is the same woman who entered my info into the computer and shouting out the names…. clearly, they are understaffed.
She tells me to take a deep breath, and then it feels like she is digging for my vein, I know I will have a bruise from this one. Now I am a baby when it comes to needles, but they usually are inserted with a bit more grace. I realize that they are under the gun and working hard, but the needle’s insertion could be a bit more delicate.
As I walk out, I reach for the wall hand sanitizer to see there is no bag, then I walk through the lobby and see another one on the wall by the exit. I reach for it to find that it is also empty.
For a medical facility in pre-pandemic, this isn’t very good. For a medical facility during a pandemic, this is absolutely unacceptable and no reason for it. There was no procedure or protocol. For a national company, this is disgraceful, and I will never return to another Labcorp again. I realize that this facility was understaffed; however, there are ways to make a safe environment for patients. If they do not want people in the lobby, then put one of the receptionists in the waiting area to take the patient’s name and number and send them back to the car. Please don’t ignore them and allow them to stand around as we did. This was an absolute failure, in my opinion, for no good reason.