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to complain about our experience at the hospital today?

(57 Posts)
debka Thu 16-Jun-11 13:48:26

DD2, 4mo, had to have blood taken. First they kept us waiting for almost an hour for one reason or another, so she was tired and grumpy. Then when they finally found her notes the dr tried to take blood from her elbow. I wanted to bf her through the procedure but she was screaming so hard, before he even touched her with the needle there was no point. She was crying because he held her arm so tight. An hour later, she still had a red mark where he was restraining her.

He then called a more senior dr who tried her hand, failed, and eventually got the blood from her foot. DD2 was red faced, very distressed and screaming by the end of all this.

Now perhaps I wouldn't mind so much but she had blood taken by a paediatric phlebotomist last month at Guys and St Thomas, and it was simple, quick, calm and she barely cried.

AIBU to not expect my child to have to go through this, and to expect someone with more experience to take my daughter's blood? Or is this sadly par for the course?

And do you think I should complain?

Awhiteelephantintheroom Thu 16-Jun-11 13:51:30

I would complain, yes. Hope your little girl is okay now and not too upset

mouseanon Thu 16-Jun-11 13:54:38

You poor things sad. My DS had to have a blood test as a baby and it was nothing like as traumatic as that. As you said of your other experience it was quick and calm and although he did cry it was over fairly quickly. Were the doctors doing this today not paediatricians? DS's blood was done on the children's ward just because that's where they have the expertise dealing with babies and children. They had a play worker there as well trying to keep him distracted.

notso Thu 16-Jun-11 13:55:19

Waiting a long time in hospitals is generally par for the course so I wouldn't complain about that.
Did you say anything at the time about him holding her so tightly?

feggyart Thu 16-Jun-11 13:55:19

I think you should raise concerns over this for sure.

Lizcat Thu 16-Jun-11 13:55:36

There are some really fantastic bleeders on paeds wards and some terrible ones. After days of holding down 5 month old DD down for repeat blood tests and new intravenous catheters I am very aware of this. If you didn't need to pin her to a bed and could hold her in you arms I would consider that a mid-range experience. Worst experience 5 different sites before catheterisation achieved and over 45 mins pinning her to a bed.
What I have learnt is that at that particular age due to their chubby arms and legs it is hard. Only 1 of the 9 doctors we saw in that week did it first time and he was actually only a first year reg so not that experienced just had 'the touch'.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Jun-11 13:56:05

I can see why it was upsetting but unfortunately people do need to learn. Its standard for a paed SHO to attempt to take blood and they do normally manage it, if they can't then they get the Registrar there. So it sounds like thats what happened.

It is hard to get blood out of a baby's veins.

pinguwings Thu 16-Jun-11 13:57:02

No, I don't think you should complain

debka Thu 16-Jun-11 13:59:16

She was pinned to the bed in the end. And it was the children's ward. If there's a next time we're going back to Guy's, I'm not putting her through that again.

Owlingate Thu 16-Jun-11 14:01:04

I don't think you should complain tbh, unless you genuinely think he was too rough with her. It's always hard to get blood from small babies. DC2 had to have it taken from his hand / foot before and so have I, small veins seem to run in our family.

The only way he will get better at taking blood is to keep doing it. Although like Lizcat said, some of them do just seem to have the touch. A junior doc is likely to be better than a senior doc because the senior ones never take blood any more. Of course a pediatric phlebotomist would be better but they don't tend to have them outside the children's ward.

GreenTeapot Thu 16-Jun-11 14:01:15

Oh you poor thing, that sounds really horrid sad

I don't think, however, that it is grounds for complaint. Waiting an hour IME isn't bad in a busy hospital. And if the only people who took blood were the experienced ones, then eventually there would be nobody on the wards with experience at all. So it isn't unreasonable to have a junior member of staff have an attempt, provided they then get help if they can't manage.

While firm restraint is really important to make sure they don't blow the vein before they've even got the sample, if you feel she was restrained to the point of being hurt then yes, that is something I would raise verbally.

Sorry she's having to go through this though, it sounds really tough sad

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Jun-11 14:02:07

The thing is you have to grip their arm tight to stop them from waving it around. If you'd got the cannula half in and weren't holding the arm very firmly it would be even worse. Babies don't tend to keep their arms still when being jabbed with needles. Having a red mark on their arm from where they've been held is not unusual, they're suprisingly strong for being so small.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Jun-11 14:03:23

I don't think every hospital has a paediatric phlebotomist, I've never heard of one before today.

sharbie Thu 16-Jun-11 14:04:30

ime babies are routinely held down for blood tests etc. they don't know to keep still.
i really wouldn't complain.

JenAT Thu 16-Jun-11 14:05:30

Not a nice experience for you, but I don't think you should complain. Although it's your call.

It is really hard to take blood from babies as Lizcat says. I know I used to have to do it! Its distressing for all involved, the baby, the parents, and the person taking the blood when you have to try more than once. Some of the paediatric phlebotomists are fantastic but unfortunately I think they are quite thin on the ground.

ellodarlin Thu 16-Jun-11 14:09:16

I wouldn't complain. DS has had gallons of blood taken. Some Drs have been great and some awful. A Dr who was good one week couldn't manage at all the next. Its really had to get blood at that age and people can only improve with experience. Not every patient can have the most experienced and competent blood taker every time and as others have said, they do need to be restrained or the cannula can do a lot of damage to the tiny veins.

thegruffalosma Thu 16-Jun-11 14:10:00

I wouldn't complain. It was probably because your child was waiting so long and cranky that she had to be restrained - delays happen in hospitals - I doubt they kept you waiting for fun.
Also your child would have had a lot more than a red mark had the doctor just taken the blood without holding her still.
It must have been very upsetting to see your child so distressed but unfortunately I don't think anywhere can guarantee your appointment won't be delayed.

DeWe Thu 16-Jun-11 14:57:20

An hour sounds quite short to wait. Mine have always had the anasthetic cream on that takes 45minutes to work.
As others have said it doesn't sound that bad. Ds was 6weeks when they took his first bloods and they stuck the needle in and it came out. Repeat bloods at 8 weeks and the same set of drs. had to hold him down screaming and tried in 3 different places before they got some, The veins kept hiding. It happens. I was definitely more traumatised by it than him.

ENormaSnob Thu 16-Jun-11 15:00:10

What viva said.

thegruffalosma Thu 16-Jun-11 17:49:51

Good point DeWe. When dd (3) went for bloods recently we had to wait half an hour for the cream to work. The next time she went we put it on before we left but it said on that one to leave it for at least an hour! I didn't mind the wait to be honest but a 3yo is a lot different to a cranky baby.

BupcakesandCunting Thu 16-Jun-11 18:00:20

This is what happened (from what I can see...)

-You had to wait for longer than expected to be seen.

You're dealing with the NHS. It's not just there for you, and it cannot run to what is ideal for you and your child, unfortunately.

-Because you had to wait for longer than expected, your DD was irritable and tired.

As before, the hospital aren't running to your schedule. They wouldn't have been keeping you waiting so that your DD would be distressed, thus making their job more difficult in the long run.

-The doctor held her arm "too" tightly.

The person performing the blood test needs to have a good grip on the arms, especially with a baby, as they are prone to sudden movements. You say that this didn't happen previously. It probably did, but as your previous experience was calmer/better managed, you may not have noticed it. Any nurse performing a blood test will be holding the limb concerned fairly firmly.

-Your daughter was red-faced/screaming by the end of it.

She was tired/irritable then she had to deal with medics trying to extract blood from her. That's enough to set any baby off! She won't be scarred by it.

Hope she is OK though, sounds like she had a rough day. Lots of cuddling time for her, as I'm sure you are doing. smile

wonka Thu 16-Jun-11 18:08:58

When taking blood from babies you do need to hold very tight with this age group you do not use a tourniquet so your hand is not only to hold the infants arn still to stop them thrashing about its also supposed to constrict the blood flow. On a chubby little baby arm this may need to be quite tight in order to do this. Its usually the holding which upsets them. All their instinct is telling them to move away from the sharp needle and adults are holding them preventing them from doing so, So they complain LOUDLY.

ashamedandconfused Thu 16-Jun-11 18:26:56

poor you, its not nice to have to see baby distressed, but baby will not remember a thing about it, and the medics are only doing their jobs

took hours to get blood out of 8yo DD one time - she was anxious and her veins kept collapsing, she had needles in the back of both hands twice, a room full of play workers and nurses and doctors trying to distract her, reason with her

I felt like I had done 10 rounds with frank Bruno by the end of the afternoon!

nannyl Thu 16-Jun-11 18:29:27

i dont think you should complain either

as many others have said when taking (or trying to take) blood from a baby / young child they have to hold them tightly...

its just one of those things.


SauvignonBlanche Thu 16-Jun-11 18:38:08

I'm sorry you had an unpleasant experience but I don't see anything to complain about.

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