Bizarre conversation with phlebotomist(90 Posts)
I've just been for a blood test. The phlebotomist took several vials of blood in the normal way, put a cotton ball over the needle prick and immediately said "Are you on aspirin or Warfarin because this bleeding isn't stopping?"
I said no, she checked the bleeding again and said "you must be because this isn't stopping - are you sure?" - at this point only about 30 secs to a minute has gone by since she took the needle out .
I said "well I'm sure it will stop in a minute".
She said "I don't have time for this, I'm going to check your records".
Then she looked again and lo and behold it had stopped. .
AIBU to think she was over-reacting, especially as I had told her I wasn't on any medication, there wasn't a queue for her clinic and it was only a bit of blood from a pin-prick?
Sounds like she was having a very bad Wednesday morning!
Sounds odd. I've had plenty of blood taken over the years and last time the nurse told me to hold the cotton ball firmly for at least a minute before she put a small plaster on it as she'd already had 2 'spurters' that morning.
I have been known to spurt. isn't it just part of taking blood sometimes? And she's blaming you?
What did she say when she saw it had stopped?
cailinDana - That's the thing, she didn't comment further, just said leave that ball there for 20 min and that was it.
Ideally she should have asked about your medical history before taking the blood - it's a bit late to check for clotting problems after you've stuck a needle in someone!
"Spurting" after a blood test?! <faints>
I spurted through gap in the bed and it was dripping on to the floor once. The midwife taking the blood didn't seem in the least bit concerned.
I hate that! When a Dr or nurse speaks to you as though something strange your body is doing is your fault!!! The Dr who delivered my Dd (horrible forceps ordeal) put her on my chest and then snapped at me "why is she so small?"!!!!!
I don't see what difference it would have made her checking your notes, or if you were on warfarin anyway. Is all it means is a little extra time/pressure on the site. It doesn't mean you will bleed to death from a blood test, or any other differing in the technique (apart from the extra/time pressure)
I think she was just being a bit of a jobs worth.
Ooh crazynanna I didn't know you were a Phlebotomist I don't think.
Yes I am Sparkiling..for my sins.
Thank you crazynanna. I think she was more worried than I was - as in, I wasn't worried at all . And it didn't even spurt, it was just a sort of very positive trickle. Perhaps she's squeamish .
crazynanna. How come sometimes when you have blood taken it is painless but then a huge bruise comes up the next day, and other times it's really painful but no bruises at all? Hope you don't mind me asking.
<arf> at squeamish Phlebotomist>
Perhaps she's squeamish
More likely she's just a prat.
I think it's all down to technique Sparkling, although loads of things can affect the performance of a vein (dehydration, being unwell,being too hot or too cold,etc)
Some Phlebotomists get too adventurous with the size need le they use. Big green needles (big as in bore size,not length before you faint!), are great when you need to take a lot of blood and lots of bottles as the blood comes quicker, but if the vein is not viable for the size of the needle, then you will bruise at best or completely fail (collapsed vein) at worst, and have to do it again.
If the vein, for me, does not replica a bouncy trampoline, I am using a butterfly to ensure success and minimal bruising/discomfort.
How did you practice when you were training?
Maybe she is new on the job?
You should have scared her and said "no actually, I'm haemophiliac." and pretend to faint.
Sounds like her attitude was absolutely appalling. I'm an NHS professional and have been disgusted with the lack of manners of some phlebotomists I have met. I used to have a thyroid problem so had loads of blood tests and I'm not squeamish in the least but one actually made me cry because of her attitude, treated me like I was a bit of poo on her shoe.
I cant' believe she said 'I don't have time for this'. She sounds like an asshole.
This may alarm some people, but we actually practice on patients with their full consent, of course. In my day of training (30 yrs ago) we first pracn an orange, then on patients, then we had to bleed the boss who decided on competency. It isn't really a hard skill to learn. A steady hand and a good eye is all that is really needed.
Ah thanks crazynanna. I'd always wondered why phlebotomists didn't just always use butterflies, as invariably when they do I don't feel a thing, whereas other times with big needle it really is incredibly painful, and I'm fairly robust when it comes to injections 'n' stuff.
I always feel so bad for doctors/phlebotomists/midwives who are training to take blood - so many people are squeamish about it they must feel huge pressure to get it right as fast as possible. They must feel bad too if they don't get it quickly. The student MW I saw recently was so nervous about taking blood bless her, and she did get it wrong (even I could see she was going in at the wrong angle!). I was going to say she could try again as I'm not squeamish and I know they need practice but her supervisor wasn't the nicest and just took over a bit huffily. I wouldn't mind but said supervisor had to try three times to get blood on my last appointment!
Crazynanna - you might know this - I used to have great veins, as in, they'd put the tourniquet on and a big fat juicy one would pop up straight away, so much so that a lot of
vampires blood takers would say "Oooh that's a nice one!" But since I had DS two years ago they're bloody rubbish - can't see them any more. I'm annoyed! Any idea why that might be?
I remember once I was miscarrying and was in the emergency women's centre to give blood so they could test my hcg. The doctor on-call came with a 40ml syringe (no lie) and a massive needle. I wouldn't let her take my blood at first and asked for a butterfly needle but she wasn't having any of it. Whilst i was hyperventilating and crying, she poked me 5 times on the left arm, from wrist to elbow and twice in the other before she found a vein. All the time she was saying "can you stop crying please you're making me nervous". .
Cailin - I'm another with 'good veins'. I have to have blood taken fairly regularly, and a tiny part of me looks forward to it, as I ALWAYS get a compliment (from phlebotomist, re. blood vessels). And they are few and far between these days...
And I have been a guinea pig for trainees too, incl. one nervous one, who 'just needed an easy one to get her confidence back'!
Fakebook - that sounds awful, poor you.
I have found people who have repeated blood tests, ie diabetics, cancer patients,sickle cell, patients, would tell me they used to have fabulous veins, but now they are all gone.
I think the physiology of the body can change for anyone after certain event, such as pregnancy. My boobage sure has!
Sounds like you have had some bad experiences Fakebook
No wonder you have lost your faith in us.
But,I bet I could restore your faith if you came to me
Im a medical technologist and in my day we all learned to draw blood and took turns drawing patients on the hospital wards.We didnt have many dedicated phlebotomists then
I have awful veins and I know it. More often than not Ill draw my own from the back of my hand with a butterfly
I had my blood drawn yesterday,hands were too cold for the veins to pop so I had to have someone else draw it.First dude stuck me twice,didnt feel a thing either time,wouldnt have known it was happening,but he missed both times. Then a woman had a go, hit the vein,hurt like hell,bruised to buggery and hemolysed the blood. She was new to our company,didnt know who I was and tried to blame me.then she had the gall to call me HUN
I had to put her right on all counts
I would have sacked her for the "Hun"
I got a cheer from the other women in the lab,she calls everyone hun and it drives them mental. Yesterday was my first dealings with her so I had never been "huned" before,dont think I will be again
YANBU. What a miserable woman.
I tried to jump up straight after a blood test recently as the vials were making me vommy, and I got told very nicely to sit back down and hold the gauze on longer. She guessed I was nervous and had a lovely chat with me to keep my mind off it until I could go.
Crazynanna You've reassured me, I've got to learn to cannulate for paramedic science degree and I'm terrified. I'm sure all the people I have to do will be really poorly and I'll have to try and do it whilst bouncing off the walls of the ambulance and stabbing myself and my colleagues. I'm envisaging not getting a single one first time.
Crazynanna, I have every faith in all you phlebotomists. You're all angels in disguise . It's the doctors and midwives I don't trust.
I think more like Angels with Dirty Faces, FakeBook
Lifeis..don't worry...practice makes perfect is a saying that was made for venepuncture. I trained in the day of syringes (not vacutainers), and my trainer made me take a 50ml syringeful on my first go. The plunger was soooo hard to pull, and as I turned to my trainer to ask "is this ok?", I hadn't realised I had reached the capacity of the sytinge, and pulled the plunger full out Blood everywhere!
The patient, an old boy, was lovely though, and just said, "that was prime guiness,that was!"
I have good veins and I love phlebotomists. They are nearly always on the mark every time. I'm going tomorrow. Happy days!
I've had some traumatic experiences (despite my good veins) with doctors and nurses taking blood but never had a bad phlebotomist.
I have excellent veins. The nurse looks over-joyed when she sees them
It's probably to do with my high blood pressure though.
The ex had a doctor put a cannula in his elbow joint area when he was being admitted with pneumonia once. When the nurse came along she took one look, tutted, removed it and redid it on the back of his hand.
I have a bad phobia of needles, shaking crying, fainting, throwing up no nurse has ever offered a butterfly. What is it and will it make it easier.
Funnily enough the only time I have been ok was when I went to see a pl...thingamy. I told her about my phobia and she said 'look that way. (pointed to the sink) you'll be fine with me I promice. What's your daughters name and how old is she? all done!' I didn't feel a thing, I was so shocked! It was great!
I had to have a lot of blood tests and cannulas put in when I had a molar pregnancy, I volunteered to be a guinea pig for trainees, because I have good veins, and seem to manage them ik (gawd knows why I am an absolute wuss in every other department)
I have just come out of hospital with ds(2.7), where the phlebotomist had to take blood sample. I suggested she might want to get someone else to help, and could we do it in a treatment room rather than the ward (ds has a genetic disorder, is a nightmare to get blood out of and isi very scared of strange surroundings, new people etc). She sounded very offended and said she had done this hundreds of times, it was a small prick on the finger, and we would 'stay where we were, thankyou'. 5 minutes later, she was shouting at me, 'why is he bleeding so much,?! does he always bleed like this?!!' as blood poured out of his finger all over my lap. Ds was a screaming, sweating, hysterical mess, and the phlebotomist was shouting for someone to come and help - great.
So op, yanbu, and you aren't alone!
DS2 had an operation when he was 5 weeks old. There were so many goes at getting a cannula into his hand they had to give up. They ended up putting it into his foot. Ouch. He screamed the place down and DH and I had to walk out we were so upset.
On your way in did you pass an over full car park, broken pay and display machine, closed coffee shop and a broken heel? Or any other reason why her day was so shit she needed to piss on your chips
Hahahaha Im literally pissing myself here in squeamish, needle-phobic hysterics.
My DH wants to know why Im laughing. Quite honestly, Ive gone faint and would rather pop my own eyeball than discuss needle guages and blood taking.
Eeeeeewww squee BLEUGH you bunch of wierdos!
Oh this is so interesting.
I really quite like having my blood taken - always have a good look to see what they are doing. I would love to have a go - I imagine that once you get the knack of doing it it is rather satisfying.
They always have a job at finding a vein on the back of my hand, though I imagine that that is a difficult place anyway.
Giving blood is quite enjoyable as well, watching all that blood flow out. I am a B negative as well so always feel rather pleased with mysefl.
I am not strange, honest.
Oh sparkling how bloody horrible for you all.
It's nearly 11 years ago now GetOrf, but things like that stay with you don't they? Along with the Doctor yelling 'WILL SOMEONE GO OUT AND GET THAT BABY A DUMMY'!!
Someone did-but no taping it to his face fortunately.
I was in hospital with dd when she was 5 weeks, she was projectile vomiting and as there is family history of it they thought it may be pyloric stenosis (it wasn't - as soon as we got to hospital she stopped throwing up thankfully).
Anyway, they tried to catch her urine by sticking a sticky bag thing on her bum - when they pulled the sticky bit off it pulled her skin and obviously hurt her and she cried bitterly. I can still hear it. Nothing like what you went through with an op, but I felt so upset, and still makes me sad thinking of it bloody 17 years later!
Sparkling, I am looking at ds's bruised little feet at the moment, where it took 2 drs and a nurse to get a cannula in, 2 days later they had to recannulate in the other foot. He nearly passed out, it was horrible.
I love taking blood, it is satisfying to get the vein especially if they're a bit small, deep, etc. I've never used a butterfly in my life, we don't have them on our ward and I've never seen one be used or been shown how to do it. Occasionally if someone has bad veins I take blood out the back of their hand with a normal vacutainer needle which is probably not recommended practice but seems to work!
I'm currently learning to cannula the but am crap at it and not sure why. Get a nice vein, go in at the right angle and just can't advance the cannula. We do just practice on people. I never tell them I'm learning. I have a go and when I don't get it in I blame it on their veins and go and find a dr!
Oooh noooo GetOrf. That's awful.
Pyeloric Stenosis was exactly what DS2 was having his op for. They also put Paracetamol up his bum.
That's probably a good idea that you don't tell people you;re learning, I think it would make people nervous.
I have never heard of these butterlfly things.
I'm a nightmare to get blood out of.before my shoulder surgery I was 1.5 hours in pre open where they couldn't get anything into me and after ruining both arms (one ended up tissued), no luck with knuckles, wrists, toes, they went in through my neck.it was horrific.awful anaesthetist asked if I had ever been a I've drug user .thing is I warned the reg who chatted to her before the opening! next day when she came to check on me I said I told you so and she at least had the grace to admit that "everyone says that so we don't listen". the only good thing was they pain from the tissued atm outweighed the pain from the bloody operated arm
going to have to stop posting on my phone sorry that was so garbled
I remember taking blood for the first time as a student. We'd been taught the theory in uni, but not practised on a fake arm or even an orange.
My first day with a community midwife and she knew I'd not taken blood before. Some unsuspecting woman has an appt and the midwife inspected her veins and then told me to take the blood and she went back to doing notes and didn't even watch what I was doing! I was terrified. I guess she didn't want to let on I didn't know what I was doing! I got the blood though.
Viva and Getorf...yes I too, find it sooooo satisfying to see the blood flow into the vacutainer tube.
A butterfly has a long thin plastic tube attached to it, which the blood has to travel through to get to the tube, so it sort of reduces the pull from the vacuum of the tube. Doing so, it reduces the vein collapsing. And,the butterfly needle is tiny in bore and in actual size, so is perfect for veins that resemble single hairs!
hazey your poor DS. So hard to watch them do these things even though they are essential.
She sounds like a wanker who is shit at her job. She'll probably get sacked so don't sweat it.
I order butterflies for our staff at work as well as much bigger needles. Anybody squeamish should look away when dialysis needles and fistulas come up in conversation
I know it isn't blood going out, but when I had to have some put in after I had DD1, the nurse or whatever actually had the manual open on my bed!
Apparently, she used the wrong type of needle, as the third bag somehow blocked, and a no nonsense older midwife had to kind of wrap the tube round a pen and push the blood into my arm until the blockage went. I still feel sick now at the cold feeling as the blood ran into my arm all of a sudden. Urgh.
You can trace the veins on my hands with the little line of white dots where I have had childbirth related cannulas :-D. I only have two kids, I must just be weird...
I'm finding the idea of a phlebotomist who is so busy she doesn't have time to wait for blood to clot quite hilarious actually.
I know, I always have to say to them that no amount of distraction is going to stop ds freaking out, they need to be confident and quick, it seems brutal, but ds doesn't like people he doesn't know looking and talking to him, so having people trying to distract, just makes it worse. I always really feel for the drs and people when they take the blood, because it must be very difficult when the child is in such distress. (Although I didn't feel very sorry for the dr who dropped a thin glass tube of blood on the floor, after it had taken her 20 minutes to get it!)
Sparkling, you made me laugh with the paracetamol up the bum, suppositories are the future - so much easier than trying to get Calpol in!
Actually one of my sweetest work memories involves watching somebody getting blood out. We had a sweet, lovely patient who had had years of debilitating illness and treatment. As a consequence he had world class crap veins. Junior Dr bloke (who looked about 15) came along to get blood and got it first shot, Unfortunately he did it in our reception area which you are NOT supposed to do and he was rather bollocked (rightly) for it by our senior nurse. When he came back to the patient after the bollocking (she waited till the sample was secured btw) he was looking a bit chastened and the sweet patient saw that I think and praised his technique. Told him exactly how many people had missed in that past. Wee lad blushed to the tops of his ears. I hope he remembers that too.
I've taken several courses of blood thinners including warfarin. At the phlebotomist will know, you have your blood checked regularly when you're on warfarin so makes no difference even if you were! They don't use different size needles or anything .
Yes hazey DSs are 13 and 11 now, and when they are moaning about being poorly but refuse to take anything 'because of the taste' I often suggest a Paracetamol up the bum. They haven't agreed to it weirdly.
I had blood taken from my earlobe the other day, to check blood gas levels as part of a lung function test. It wasn't that painful as they put "magic cream" on the earlobe first. Yep they really do. It saves them having to take it from an artery in your wrist.
I now have a rather impressive bruise on my ear though - last time it was painful during the procedure, but no bruise afterwards. I guess you don't get away Scot-free.
I think they used to do something with your earlobe when you give blood, but now it's your finger.
Liking the sound of magic cream apostroph
sparklingbrook when my son broke his arm in a couple of places he had to go to theatre to have it repaired, so he couldn't be given painkillers orally and he too had to have suppositories for pain relief. The thing is, every time the poor nurse tried to go near him he couldn't stop giggling, then she was giggling, then everyone else was too. It took several attempts to get them in. The wee soul, he was about 8 or 9 at the time.
I like to watch the needle while they take blood. It really freaks out the inexperienced.
I watched when I got my contraceptive implant in too, but nearly passed out watching the removal so I looked away the second time I had one put in.
Those who got lines into the veins of my son born at 2lb4oz are the ones who really deserve a medal. I still have no idea how they manage to find the veins in a baby that size - his wrists were not much fatter than an adult finger. The many scars on his hands and feet suggest it wasn't easy, certainly But now the trauma is a few years old I do also marvel at the mechanics of it.
Sparkling, you've just reminded me of when DS was born. He was underweight and his temperature was too high with every check so they suspected he might have an infection. He was rushed to the nicu and they tried three times on each hand to fit a cannula and finally got a vein in the right hand after an hour. Because of my needle phobia, I was absolutely terrified and a complete wreck, but had to stand there trying to console ds as he was screaming the place down. I hate needles. Really hate them.
I had a lovely conversation with the last phlebotamist who took my blood. She said for half the week she works at GOSH getting tiny needles into veins of the smallest sick babies.
Unsurprisingly her technique was amazing and you could hardly feel the needle even going in. I bet she is great with all the upset babies and parents as she was very calm and caring.
to all lovely phlebotamists reading.
People taking blood hate me, I wont let anyone take any from anywhere but my hand or wrist. I've been shouted at many times for it.
Doesn't help that I have a vein on my wrist that likes to fool people, it pops way up, is massive and bouncy but doesn't like people bothering it and will really only perform when being attacked with a needle and syringe (according to one of my GPs who figured this out it's something to do with the pressure in the vein?) however no one ever listens to me when I say this, they go for that one before any others and refuse to use a syringe so use a butterfly and it never works and I always end up repeatedly stabbed and they always do that horrid lifting the needle up and wiggling it which is fucking agony.
I used to always have mines taken by the phlebotemist at the GP surgery before she left, she was brilliant and I miss her.
Fakebook sorry I have made you remember.
It's okay! He has scars on his little hands now, like three dents, so I get reminded everytime I see them anyway. Turned out he didn't have an infection and all was well in the end.
That's good Fakebook. DS still has the faint tummy op scar. It's weird to think he got it at 5 weeks old. and now he's 11.
My veins are crap. Went for a blood test and she took one look and said "ooh I will pop and get X, she's our little vampire, never failed yet"
Sure enough she got it first time (never happened before) apparently the vein is at an odd angle? Was interesting watching
One of my first go's was a pregnancy booking appt of a doctor (bad) who brought along her rather arrogant surgeon husband (worse). As I went to take the blood he said to his wife, "Do you want ME to do it instead?" I knew I had to do it perfectly or my name was mud - and to my utter amazement I did! I'm still terrible with wobbly or tiny veins though.
I had to get bloods taken by a midwife hen I was pregnant and she tried six times before eventually getting some out of a tiny vein going over my wrist bone- I admired her perseverance as she even had me submerge my arms in a basin of warm water.
Giving blood a couple of years before and they had to try both arms before getting a pint. For some reason they bandaged both arms instead of a plaster and I walked out to find blood running down one arm and dripping all over the floor. I don't have good veins!
Feeling dizzy just reading this thread.
you mean you didn't bleed to death just to oblige her? tch, tch. how inconsiderate of you!
did she get some used wipes out of the bin to go over your open wound? they do that at our local hospital. in two departments, so its not just one rogue nurse.
I'm a student midwife (nearly qualified) and although I get blood more often than I miss it these days, I still dread going to take it but get an equivalent immense feeling of satisfaction and relief when it does work (that 'hiss' of blood going into a vacutainer is music to my ears!)
I don't take blood any more but I had the good fortune to only need to do it mainly on the young and healthy, only took 2 to 3 times a day, twice a year I would 30-40 in a day (Jr Doctors days)
I was blessed with Admins who would point out the needle phobics before clinic started.
If possible as in I didn't have a client in with me they used to come straight down to tell me the person had arrive I would call them in immediately if I could and we tried tactfully to book them first thing or straight after my lunch, and I would stop eating if they arrived and do their bloods.
I used to put them on the exam bed but have all the pleb stuff hidden behind the head rest, as I took them up the corridor I would ask all the questions I needed, once on the bed I would put the tourniquet on and minute it was on and I found the vein, I would grab my stuff and take the blood no warning apart from a quick fraction of a second before "just taking blood now" no time to flinch, react or anything, I am sure some would judge this...but 100% IN 8 years requested me to do the next blood tests, they said it was the waiting and worrying that got to them and they didn't have to with me.
I learned this lesson the first time I had a needle phobic in a touchy feelly way I asked her how she would feel more comfortable and she picked my chair, which I was happy with, until I realised a spinning chair is not ideal, I was chasing her arm in circles and all it needed was the Benny Hill music to have made that farce complete
Are you a red head OP?
So right about the waiting missing. I'm fine if done how you describe. Once had to wait an hour and a half on a ticket system at a walk-in session and I was in a bit of a state by the time I got in. Bordering on panic and I tensed so it was really painful and arm was bruised for days.
This may alarm some people, but we actually practice on patients
I can vouch for that, I've volunteered. I've had loads of blood tests, sometimes weekly for months at a time and I have good veins that produce lots of blood but are not easy to find.
I've had experienced phlebotomists struggle, but I don't mind the needle being pushed around to find the vein.
You would be surprised at how many people lie about their meds or medical history.
Ah the great 'red head' theory of people who actually work in health care as opposed to those who do research and say there is no link.
missingmum not a redhead, no and it was only a trickle which quickly stopped.
sassh say what you like about there being no link, but my ginger DS is a bleeder and colour blind and has funny skin things and temperature control issues - I totally believe that red hair is a syndrome, not a colour and no research will persuade me otherwise .
libelulle yes, I agree. One of my DD's was born at 24 weeks and 1lb 4 oz and I cannot understand how they got lines into her, although I understand it's not an easy process, which is why we would always be asked to leave. Her skin was see through and her veins the width of a strand of cotton. It's amazing.
My veins are crap, everyone gleefully tells me. I've had blood taken from my hands and feet as they couldn't get veins in my arms. When I was in hospital with PE's it took a consultant anaesthetist several tries to get a cannula in and I ended up with huge bruises on my arm. It also took a doctor several goes to dig around in my wrist for arterial blood, which he couldn't get, so gave up. Now, I've had that many blood tests and self administered heparin and insulin injections I don't mind needles any more, but by god, that hurt.
However, last time I saw a phlebotomist I said that everyone said my veins were crap and she said 'really?' and got it first time.
I am the hardest person to get blood from :-( I have had all sorts of therapy and nothing helps . I go hysterical all my blood vessels close down and I'm incoheriant . It only comes out of my hand and I always get told off As only a doctor can take it out the hand apparently. So if they have had me before anyone else I bet they are mighty pissed. Off
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.