After serving Dallas’ most active trauma center for several years, Dr. Laurie Sutor took the reins as Medical Director for a community blood bank. She has now worked alongside surgeons, donors, lab personnel and public health officials to manage blood challenges for over twenty years, and she’s still in love with her job.
“The most important thing about my job is donor safety and patient safety,” says Dr. Sutor, vice president of medical and technical services of Carter BloodCare. “And to make sure we are ensuring the highest quality standards.”
Dr. Sutor and her team of medical directors make themselves available 24/7 to transfusion and laboratory professionals to consult on difficult cases, find blood for patients with complex match criteria, and sometimes simply to assess if a transfusion is necessary.
Often, her expertise is requested to evaluate patient blood-management programs at all levels of the blood audit process. She explains this may involve helping to determine blood transfusion criteria, reviewing charts, serving on hospital transfusion review committees, and on occasion, discussing recommended changes for transfusion practices and protocols.
Following consistent quality protocols is significant to her team’s success, and to the success of the physician ordering the blood products for their patients. Dr. Sutor believes there is a level of trust established with their hospital and medical facility customers because of the routine, internal audits conducted by the community blood bank. “It’s a clear message we are committed to quality,” she adds.
The issue of quality is a topic of much discussion for hospital supply chain executives and group purchasing organizations when assessing suppliers such as blood centers.
In addition to overseeing quality protocols and consulting on unique cases, Dr. Sutor and the organization’s medical directors host quarterly educational programs to provide updates on timely blood banking topics, participate in blood research, and supply blood-related content for hospital newsletters and bulletins.
Dr. Sutor considers each day similar to solving a puzzle. And, she’s a big fan of puzzles. Sometimes she solves them on her own, yet most of the time she eagerly acknowledges it takes a village of doctors, lab professionals, blood bank experts, and public health officials.
“By us all working together and talking through the issue, we are able to solve the puzzle.”