Lessons Learned, with Jeanie Martin
From completing kidney transplants throughout the night during the Northern Ireland conflict to receiving an MBE for her work in biomedical science, Jeanie Martin describes her journey and reflects on the evolution of tissue typing
Jeanie Martin | | Longer Read
At a Glance
- It is vital to minimize the time taken to conduct a kidney transplant once a donor has been found
- Technological advancements such as virtual crossmatching have moved the goalposts for patients who can receive a transplant
- Developing a close relationship with transplant clinicians enables laboratorians to develop a personalized approach to patients
- Laboratories have gone overboard with the amount of documentation required, which can detract from the important work
My career in the lab began in 1964. I worked as a scientific assistant in veterinary research, which exposed me to a broad range of biomedical science disciplines. After eventually deciding to specialize in hematology and blood transfusion, I joined the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service in 1966 where I became an associate of the Institute of Biomedical Science in Hematology and Blood Transfusion. In 1976 – after a short break to have my second son – I began working in Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (H&I), also known as tissue typing. For the next 25 years I participated in the “wet work” aspect of the 24/7 on-call service, while also serving as lab manager from 1989 until my official retirement in 2011. I returned to work part time and, due to the fact that the Belfast Trust H&I lab was without a Head of Department, I took on the role of Interim Clinical Lead from 2015 to 2018.
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