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Clinical laboratories


The laboratories slowly began to expand their activities and specialise after laboratories of the then Golnik hospital for patients with pulmonary diseases were built in 1955 and the most modern equipment had been purchased. There was a new boost of energy at the end of the 20th century when the majority of the laboratories were modernised.

The laboratory work is an integral part of hospital diagnostics. Although each laboratory is its own independent unit, their work is interconnected, which is made easier as they are all located next to each other. The staffs’ continuous improvement of knowledge is based on the tradition described in previous chapters. Their work attitude is both rational and economically oriented.

The rapid development of natural science, particularly genetics and biochemistry, urges laboratory staff to attend various seminars and courses within and outside the hospital on a regular basis. Being a part of a clinical institution, they cooperate in educating patients, students and their co-workers, they publish scientific and popular science articles, but for the most part, they are involved in research, both as leaders of and co-workers on several projects. They also cooperate with researchers within and outside the hospital and various research institutions.

  • Cytology and Pathology Laboratory
  • Laboratory for Clinical Immunology and Molecular Genetics
  • Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry and Haematology
  • Laboratory for Mycobacteria
  • Laboratory for Respiratory Microbiology

Cytology and Pathology Laboratory

This diagnostic laboratory carries out cytology (6,000) and histology (2,000) specimens, mostly for diseases of the lung, mediastinum, chest wall, pleura and for allergic diseases. They also perform autopsies on patients who died in the hospital (50 autopsies annually). The laboratory was completely renovated and equipped with top-level equipment in 2004. The eight professionals employed there mostly perform assays for patients from the hospital, but also for other hospitals, outpatient clinics and private clients. Their work, which consists of well-established procedures, meets international quality standards. They provide fast test results as part of clinical practice and have established many professional and research contacts both at home and abroad. The staff attend various seminars and courses on a regular basis, and also organise courses in respiratory cytopathology.

Izidor Kern, MD, pathology specialist, has been in charge of the laboratory since 1997. He graduated in 1990, started working at the hospital in the same year and finished residency in 1995. He underwent additional professional training in Vancouver, Canada, and elsewhere.

Laboratory for Clinical Immunology and Molecular Genetics

The Laboratory for Clinical Immunology and Molecular Genetics is one of the top-level laboratories of its kind both in Slovenia and internationally. Five employees provide up-to-date standardised immunological and genetic diagnostic testing of pulmonary and allergic diseases, and perform hypersensitivity tests, immunological, serological and genetic tests, autoimmune disease serology tests and flow cytometry. Their knowledge is the result of sustained work and is deepened by following international development, a small part of which is based on their research results. The quality of tests is controlled by international methods of verification.

Peter Korošec, BSc in Biology, PhD, has been in charge of the laboratory since 2002. He graduated in 1995 and has been employed at the hospital since 2000. He received his doctor’s degree in 2001. He underwent professional training in Verona, Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Graz, Bilbao and Athens.

Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry and Haematology

This laboratory carries out the most basic and the most complicated assays in clinical biochemistry and haematology. It is a regular and emergency laboratory for the hospital and external partners. There are 17 skilled professionals working in good conditions and with excellent equipment. The quality of their work, which is regularly controlled by international methods of verification, places them among the most reliable laboratories at home and abroad. Their work results are based on teamwork and cooperation with clinical doctors. Automated and computer-controlled assays and bar-coded samples ensure flawless laboratory results. The staff work rationally and use resources effectively. They implement new procedures on a regular basis as well as manage and control their own work according to national and international quality standards for medical laboratories.

Pika Meško Brguljan, BSc in Chemistry, PhD, specialist in medical biochemistry, EurClinChem, received her doctor’s degree in 1994. She joined the hospital and has been in charge of the laboratory since 1995. In addition to her work, she holds several offices in national and international organisations: she is the President of the Slovenian Association for Clinical Chemistry, the Vice-President of the national Council for Laboratory Diagnostics and a board member of the European Communities Confederation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine – EC4.

Laboratory for Mycobacteria

The Laboratory for Mycobacteria played and still plays a very important role in diagnosing, treating, and controlling tuberculosis. Direct microscopic examination of specimens, bacteriological cultures, identification of mycobacteria and susceptibility testing of tubercle bacilli are the most important laboratory methods, which help physicians confirm diagnosis and plan treatment. Modern molecular biology methods of the last 15 years have drastically accelerated the process of laboratory diagnostic testing and have enabled tracking of the transmission of tubercle bacilli from one patient to another. It should be emphasised that research in molecular genotyping and molecular epidemiology of tubercle bacilli has placed Slovenia among the top countries in the world in terms of tuberculosis management strategies.

Manca Žolnir Dovč, BSc in Biology, PhD, has been in charge of the laboratory since 1995. She graduated in 1982 and has been employed at the hospital since 1985. She received her master’s degree in 1995 and her doctor’s degree in 2004. She underwent additional professional training in Borstl, Germany, and Bilthoven, the Netherlands, as well as in some other international reference laboratories.

Laboratory for Respiratory Microbiology

Microbiological identification of etiologic agents of infections is important for causal treatment. In this laboratory, respiratory specimens are processed, mainly those of patients from the hospital, but also those from external partners. 7 employees diagnose causes of bacterial and fungal infections using methods of classical bacteriology and mycology as well as with modern molecular biology techniques. The results they achieve are excellent due to their expert knowledge and ambitious work, up-to-date laboratory facilities, IT support and strong connection with the hospital’s clinicians. The laboratory is renowned for successful detection of patients colonized or infected with MRSA. They have transferred their methodology of dealing with MRSA into the Slovenian health system and have presented the results of their scientific work to international experts. In the future, molecular diagnostics will become a growing part of everyday laboratory work and will require even more highly educated experts.

Viktorija Tomič, MD, MSc, specialist in clinical microbiology, has been in charge of the laboratory since 1999. She graduated in 1993, finished residency in 1999 and has been employed at the hospital since 1994. She received her master’s degree in 2005 and is currently finishing her doctor’s thesis. She is the Vice-President of the National Committee for Nosocomial Infection Control and Prevention at the Ministry of Health. She is also the Vice-President and a member of the hospital’s Council of Experts.