Diandra's Story: Medical Laboratory Scientist
St. Mary’s Medical Center Trauma/Employee Testimonial: Diandra Depina
Diandra Depina, Medical Laboratory Scientist, St. Mary's Medical Center
As schoolchildren, most of us can’t wait for summer vacation. You immediately start planning which friends you’ll spend time with, where you’ll go and how to convince your parents to visit that vacation spot you’ve had on your mind long before the end of classes. Of course no one ever plans on a traumatic injury, but unfortunately for Diandra Depina, that’s exactly how the summer after her freshman year of high school began.
“On the first night after classes let out, my friends and I decided to pick up dessert from a grocery store a couple of miles from my house,” she says. “As we made our way through a traffic light, we were completely caught off-guard when our car was t-boned in the intersection.”
The impact hit the front passenger seat, which was the same side where Diandra was seated. Her window was open to about eye-level and the collision caused her head to whip right onto the edge of the glass. Bystanders immediately rushed over and offered Diandra their assistance, as she was the only injured passenger in the vehicle. After first responders arrived and made initial assessments, her parents were informed that she’d be airlifted to the Level I trauma center at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
Once Diandra arrived, she underwent various imaging procedures, including a CT scan to check if her injury had any neurological effects. Thankfully, her brain and other vital organs hadn’t been compromised. A plastic surgeon on the hospital’s medical staff tended to Diandra’s only laceration from the accident, a cut above her right eye, which required more than 100 stitches.
“To this day, I’m still amazed at how quickly the trauma team and everyone else jumped into action as soon as I came through the doors,” she expresses. “Not only that, but all of the medical professionals were so kind to me as they provided treatment and made sure I was healed as a person, not just as a patient. I truly felt inspired to become that feeling of comfort for anyone else that may experience something similar.”
As a student in the pre-veterinary program at Wellington High School, Diandra’s interest in medicine quickly shifted from animal to human medical care, and she went on to seek her degree in the Medical Laboratory Sciences program at the University of Central Florida. Shortly after completing her undergraduate studies, she moved back home and saw that St. Mary’s Medical Center had openings for the position she had worked so hard for: medical laboratory scientist. These individuals are responsible for running diagnostics on any samples taken from patients all throughout St. Mary’s and Palm Beach Children’s Hospital in hopes of finding the cause of their symptoms.
“When I saw that the hospital that cared for me during one of my scariest moments had openings in the field I had studied, I jumped at the opportunity to give back to this amazing institution,” Diandra shares. “Even though I just joined the team, I already feel so welcomed with all of the smiling faces I see in the hallways. I’m also proud to work at St. Mary’s Medical Center because people are so impressed when I tell them my place of employment and the wonderful experiences they’ve had with the high level of care we provide.”
As her career advances, she hopes to one day pursue an advanced degree in her field or even become director of the laboratory at St. Mary’s Medical Center, going full-circle from receiving live-saving care to coordinating it for future patients.