Big Day at Thomasville Hospital

First rewarded with national recognition, then a visit from a U.S. senator; with the exception of a few machines, life in the laboratory at Archbold Hospital is usually pretty quiet. Monday was an exception though. U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia visited the Thomasville hospital.

Sen. Saxby toured the lab, talked with personnel and did some lab work of his own. The senator seemed to like what he saw.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, (R) Georgia, says, "Let me tell you what they're doing down at Archbold Hospital in Thomasville, Georgia. Now, this is not Emory in Atlanta. The Archbold in Thomasville, these folks are doing terrific work in rural Georgia."

The hospital received more good news just minutes before the senator's arrival when they found out they had won national lab of the year.

A computer database system links Archbold to physicians in five surrounding counties, a convenience to doctors and a benefit to patients.

Dr. Jeff Byrd, the lab director, says, "Say for instance, they had been in the emergency room in Cairo or Camilla and they were seeing their doctor here. That doctor has instant access to that information."

While the rewards and visits from politicians are exciting, they're not the only motivation.

Cindy Parrish says, "These are compassionate people who know they're making a difference to the treatment of a patient. They know what they do is important, even though for the most part we are hidden behind the scenes."

They are scenes that, for one day, were put in the forefront. The Archbold lab performs 1.6 million tests per year.