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Thread: run labs

  1. #1
    maiabulela is offline Senior Member
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    run labs

    Dear all,

    Does the term "run labs" is a famous medical expression?

    I don't think that "run" here means "manage"

    {A: What is wrong with him?
    B: Mark is running labs. Right now the top two contenders are hepatitis and peptic ulcer disease.}

    A & B are 2 Drs talking about a patient.

    Also "contenders" here seems like "possibilities" not people.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: run labs

    Having samples taken to a laboratory for analysis. Like a blood sample to test for a specific disease. The doctors have had samples taken and sent for analysis.

  3. #3
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    Ouisch is offline Key Member
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    Re: run labs

    Quote Originally Posted by maiabulela View Post
    Dear all,

    Does the term "run labs" is a famous medical expression?
    In AmE, "run labs" or "running labs" or similar varitions of the phrase is a colloquial term used by doctors who have ordered blood to be drawn from a patient for a series of specific tests. For example, if a patient complains to his doctor of having a constant sore throat and feeling espcially lethargic , the doctor might say "well, this could be caused by several things - let's run some labs and see what the test results say." Then the patient will have several tubes of blood drawn and sent to a laboratory for testing.

    The term is also used with recurring patients, such as those being treated for cancer. After the last radiation treatment a doctor might tell the patient "We're going to run some labs and see where we stand. If the tests confirm that your cancer is in remission, then you won't need to come back to see me for another six months."

    {A: What is wrong with him?
    B: Mark is running labs. Right now the top two contenders are hepatitis and peptic ulcer disease.}

    A & B are 2 Drs talking about a patient.

    Also "contenders" here seems like "possibilities" not people.

    Thanks a lot.
    Yes, "contenders" in this case refers to diseases or medical conditions. For example, if a person arrives at the Emergency Room of a hospital complaining of severe abdominal pain, the attending physician will order a series of tests and will most likely note on the patient's chart the main "contenders" he suspects to be the cause of the pain - an inflamed appendix, or gall stones.

  4. #4
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: run labs

    I know the phrase from watching ER (yes, every episode of all 15 seasons!) but I think it's a particularly AmE phrase.

    In BrE, I think we'd use "run tests". Having said that, my aunt is a haemotologist and when she's on call, she refers to having to go into the hospital at short notice to "do bloodwork" or "lab work". I don't know if that's quite the same thing though.

  5. #5
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    Re: run labs

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I know the phrase from watching ER (yes, every episode of all 15 seasons!) but I think it's a particularly AmE phrase.

    In BrE, I think we'd use "run tests". Having said that, my aunt is a haemotologist and when she's on call, she refers to having to go into the hospital at short notice to "do bloodwork" or "lab work". I don't know if that's quite the same thing though.
    Yes, I'd say that in the non-Am world, if you "run labs", you are a Laboratory Administrator. But obviously the doctors here are not implying that that's what Mark is doing. It's usually possible to translate regional phrases like this from the context. But there are also "false friends" among varieties of English as there are between languages.

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