to consider reporting this HCA?

(38 Posts)
AnUtterIdiot Tue 24-May-16 01:21:47

Was in A&E this weekend and an HCA tried to take my blood. My veins are not always easy to find. This is how it went:

He put on one glove
Swabbed my arm with a moist towel
Fumbled about with the blood taking equipment
Put the needle in the vein
Looked at it for a few seconds
Took the needle out, picked up the moist towlette he had used to swab my arm, wiped the needle he had just used and then stuck it in a different place. This caused severe shooting pains down my arm, so I screamed like a stuck pig told him to take it out (which he did not want to do at first, saying it was normal) and told him to find a nurse to do it, which he did.

My DH and I both felt that he was unfamiliar with taking blood and were a bit concerned at the re use of the needle, but are we overreacting? I stil have twinges in the arm but nothing serious.

putputput Tue 24-May-16 01:31:27

I'm a nurse and have worked with several hcas who are far better at taking blood than I am. So the fact you demanded a nurse I feel is a bit insulting.
As long as the area has been properly cleaned (are you sure it was a towel?!) then you can also use the same needle for a second attempt.

Absofrigginlootly Tue 24-May-16 01:39:44

Depends on several things....

When you say moist towel/lett do you mean one if those little sterilized swabs?
Where did he put it down? I.e. In a sterilized field or just a plastic carry case? In that case he shouldn't have wiped the needle down

Using the same needle on you is fine in principle if it's only been in contact with you/your blood... You can't infect/contaminate yourself!

His bedside manner doesn't sound great but maybe he was stressed/rushing because they have approx 14688063156973 patients all needing to be seen at once in a&e at the weekends and knew how busy the nurses were )I'm also a nurse and agree HCAs are WAY better at taking bloods)

You can always drop a line to PALS if you want to give constructive feedback

Vickyyyy Tue 24-May-16 01:42:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Elephantslovetofly Tue 24-May-16 02:49:24

Reusing the same needle is bad practice, I am a doctor and would never do this. If you miss, get a fresh needle. If I saw anyone doing what this HCA did I would be having a quiet word. It increases infection risk and also blunts the needle which makes it more painful

DropYourSword Tue 24-May-16 02:58:06

If the towelette thing you describe is an alcohol swab that would explain the stinging. Its the act of drying and evaporation that renders something aseptic. If the equipment or area is still moist from the alcohol it's not properly clean and the alcohol hurts!
Anyone trained in venepuncture knows this, but everyone that's ever taken my blood doesn't seem to let it dry. But that's often the way in healthcare (my profession) ...people know what the best practice IS, (or should do anyway) but it doesn't always mean that they follow it.

anyname123 Tue 24-May-16 08:16:42

I'm a health professional, as others have said HCAs are some of the best blood collectors as they do it so much. I'd personally write it off as a bad experience maybe you were cold / dehydrated and it was a bit trickier than normal. Sorry you had a shitty time though! Xx

AnUtterIdiot Tue 24-May-16 09:53:42

I'm not asking if I should complain because he was an HCA. I'm sure lots of them are great at taking blood. I'm asking if I should complain because I didn't think he did the procedure very well, and I think what I actually asked for was a phlebotomist which I accept is a bit optimistic for A&E on a Sunday (DH found that hilarious).

putputput I'm 12 weeks pregnant and was in A&E because I'd been bleeding for three days so perhaps my manners weren't tip top, but the bloke had tried twice and left me in a lot of pain the second time. I'm not a medically qualified professional myself but my arm was sore for the rest of the morning and there was a hard ridge all the way down to my wrist. I have had a lot of blood samples taken and I have never had that reaction before and it was quite frightening.

The thing that DH and I were worried about was re-using the needle after wiping it with the antiseptic thing rather than getting a new one. I do quite a lot of work with the NMC and it was my understanding that you are not supposed to re-use needles for blood tests. The antiseptic wipe had been left left on the table (not on a sheet) but I didn't make a fuss partly because it happened so quickly and partly because if it's antiseptic I assume it'll take care of any germs on the table rather than the germs on the table taking care of it.

I won't make a complaint as I suppose he'll get better at it over time, but it wasn't just me who thought he didn't know what he was doing, it was also my very robust and sensible DH, who was not in a massive hormonal mess and is very pragmatic about stuff like that.

cozietoesie Tue 24-May-16 09:59:21

I have truly magnificent - and prominent - veins on my arms so every time I gave blood, I seem to have been assigned a trainee or someone inexperienced. sad

I hope you're better today ?

AnUtterIdiot Tue 24-May-16 10:02:35

Oooh, when I prod the puncture site for his second go I can still feel that muscle tense all the way down to my wrist. WEIRD.

cozietoesie thanks, I'm still spotting and waiting to see if I can get a scan this week.

AguasMil Tue 24-May-16 10:03:22

Do you realise that nurses are not taught to take blood as part of their training? They can pay to go on a private course or their employers will fund them to take a course depending the area in which they work. The courses are open to HCA's and RGN's/RMN's alike and quite often hospital phlebotomists are not registered nurses.

AnUtterIdiot Tue 24-May-16 10:06:46

AguasMil, since I'm assuming that a nurse who didn't know how to take blood wouldn't try to take blood from a patient I can't really see what that's got to do with anything?

AguasMil Tue 24-May-16 10:12:22

I think if you had this information at the time you would not have assumed that the HCA was not successful in taking your blood because he was not a registered nurse, and possibly would not have assumed that a nurse would be more successful in doing so. I am trying to explain to you why it does not necessarily follow that an HCA cannot take blood while a registered nurse can.
On the ward where I work only doctors and HCA's are trained to take blood, none of the nurses have this skill.

AnUtterIdiot Tue 24-May-16 10:16:19

I didn't know until he offered to take my blood that it was something that HCAs could do. I've never had blood taken from anyone who was not a doctor or a nurse and I have also never had that kind of pain from a blood test before. I'm not afraid of injections so I don't think that I overreacted to what actually happened, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that people on the AIBU page are assuming that I'm considering complaining about him because I'm snotty about HCAs rather than because he reused a needle after wiping it with a swab he'd left on an unsterilised table and left me with a very sore arm smile

AnUtterIdiot Tue 24-May-16 10:17:58

I mean, I just want to point out: this is not me going "Ooh, an HCA had the cheek to offer to take a blood sample, obviously I refused IMMEDIATELY because he's an HCA!" I let him have two goes, the second one left me in a lot of pain. I'm sorry I didn't ask for another HCA. I hope in time everyone will find it in their hearts to forgive me.

AnUtterIdiot Tue 24-May-16 10:20:55

To be clear, I now understand that HCAs are perfectly able to take blood and will bear this in mind so I accept that I was being unreasonable to ask for a medically qualified person rather than just asking him to find someone else to do it. But I still don't feel that he actually did the blood taking very well.

Absofrigginlootly Tue 24-May-16 14:51:17

I've never been trained to take blood but I was under the impression you could have 2 attempts with the same needle?? Don't quote me though.

It doesn't sound like his technique was great but I certainly didn't read that you were going to complain that they sent a HCA to do your bloods, more that you didn't appreciate his technique!

Anyway, don't let this thread areas you out. You have enough in your plate and aibu can be a brutal place when you're emotional. Is just I watch the thread if I were you.

If you still feel like giving constructive feedback you can always email your local PALS (Google should find it for you). Then they can double check that his training and technique are up to date. Nothing wrong with that.

Hope everything works out with your pregnancy flowers

Absofrigginlootly Tue 24-May-16 14:51:57

*stress you out

Absofrigginlootly Tue 24-May-16 14:52:56

*id just unwatch

Fuck you autocorrect. Just fuck you

OzzieFem Tue 24-May-16 16:24:45

Needles are single use only. Using the same one twice does not fit this criteria. Using a medicated towel that is no longer sterile is also poor training The person trying to get blood should have used an antiseptic gel or washed their hands with soap and water before putting on gloves.
You are only allowed two tries to get blood, then it is required that a more experienced blood taker is obtained, if unsuccessful on the second try.
A patient can withdraw consent to have blood taken after one attempt, and if the person persists in trying, can be charged with assault.
The hospital need to be informed that you have concerns regarding their phlebotomy training and technique.

DailyFaily Tue 24-May-16 16:34:10

Wiping the used needle with a steret is really bad practice - more for the HCA than for you since they could have pricked themselves with the used needle. If they're that lax about something that important then, yeah, I'd question their competence and I'd be tempted to mention it to PALS (if you're certain that's what happened). The bit about reusing the needle might be within local policy, again PALS will advise. The bit about your arm hurting might just be bad luck or it might be that this person has been left to it when they need more support/training.

WreckingBallsInsideMyHead Tue 24-May-16 16:41:57

The most painful blood sample I ever had was from a GP. I have awkward veins and they always end up using my hand instead of my arm, and I had bruising all over my hand and wrist.

The next time I saw a phlebotomist in the GP surgery and she was brilliant and apologised for leaving a bruise at all even though it was only the size of a 5p coin and I bruise very easily anyway

adaisychain Tue 24-May-16 16:52:05

As a phlebotomist I would say that the pain you experienced sounds like the vein rolled in to a nerve which can be unavoidable as some people have veins that are less anchored down than others and we can't see where the nerves are. It happens to me every time I have blood taken no matter who does it. The pain can last a few days and although unpleasant is (sadly) normal.

adaisychain Tue 24-May-16 16:52:42

(I'd never re-use a needle if I missed though, they are called single use for a reason)

Sugarlightly Tue 24-May-16 17:15:57

I'm a nurse but haven't been trained to give blood.

But even I know that using the same needle twice is bad practice and introduces unneeded infection control risks.

Wiping it with a swab is the worst though. I'm cringing at the thought of 1: having it stabbed in your arm and 2: him accidentally stabbing himself shock

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