Trumbull Labs A Quiet Partner In Saving Lives

By Tom Wilemon

Patients rarely see members of a health care team that helps save lives throughout the Mid-South by identifying diseases and preventing blood loss from behind the scenes.

The pathologists and lab technicians at Trumbull Laboratories LLC conduct tests and provide vital information to hospitals, surgery centers and doctors’ offices.

Judy Warner mounts tissue sections for special staining at Trumbull Laboratories. The facility turns around lab tests on tissue within a day in most cases.  Photo: Lance Murphey

Elaine Harris prepares slides from fluid samples in the cytology lab.  Photo: Lance Murphey

Trumbull Laboratories is located at 7550 Wolf River Boulevard in Germantown.  Photo: Lance Murphey

One shift of employees starts their day before sunrise and a second shift works toward midnight to provide quick turnaround on tissue specimens.

David Hill mounts tissue sections for special staining at Trumbull Laboratories. The facility turns around lab tests on tissue within a day in most cases.  Photo: Lance Murphey

Brian Warmbrod dictates with voice recognition software while dissecting a tissue specimen.  Photo: Lance Murphey

Trumbull gets test results back to its clients within 24 hours more than 95 percent of the time. In the other cases, staff physicians are spending the extra time necessary to study complex tissue specimens.

“Turnaround time is extremely important,” said Norman Hill, executive director of Trumbull. “The anxiety of the patient is extremely important, but the other piece of that is starting the treatment promptly. If it is misdiagnosed, then nothing about that treatment protocol is going to be right.”

Although Trumbull is checking for cancer and identifying cancer types in the majority of the tissues it processes, the pathology practice also performs other tests. Four of its pathologists are also internal medicine physicians. Trumbull provides data on coagulation and blood-banking.

“Obviously, when a patient has surgery, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to determine whether or not the patient is stable enough to have surgery,” Hill said. “Part of that is determining if there are bleeding issues or in the case of a transfusion, people are working in the background to make sure blood is compatible.”

Trumbull Laboratories was founded in 1998 under its current operating name, but its history actually goes back decades to The Pathology Group of the Mid-South, a practice that dates back to 1947.

Two years ago, Trumbull moved into new, specially designed laboratory space at 7550 Wolf River Blvd. It has 14 physicians and another 93 full-time employees.

“We’re very people dependent,” Hill said. “We just can’t purchase a machine to process specimens for us. ”

The lab has the equipment to perform flow cytometry, a test that was primarily used to check for blood cancers but now has wider applications for other cancers.

One of its newer devices is the Cellient Automated Cell Block System, which allows for quicker cell block preparation. It also enables the practice to keep clear test samples for long periods and obtain results from smaller quantities of tissue.

Trumbull’s biggest client is Baptist Memorial Health Care and its area hospitals.

“One of our doctors is there Monday through Friday and on call 24-7 to work with those hospitals to get the right tests done on blood,” said Elise McAlexander, sales and client services supervisor.

Other clients include freestanding surgical centers and oncology practices in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.