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Was this blood test unhygienic/dangerous?

(54 Posts)
Cakeeater100 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:13:05

Any medical professionals that can help much appreciated!

Today I had a blood test at a hospital. It's one of those departments where they see dozens of people every hour, 6 or so phlebotomists working. I have had lots of blood tests over the years so was not expecting anything untoward but today bothered me.

Anyway I had a blood sample with a tourniquet (strap to tighten the arm) attached at the top of the arm. The blood was taken and a tiny pad placed on the bleed. Then the lady lowered the tourniquet and placed it right OVER the bleed with just the loose tiny pad underneath. This was the tourniquet used on all the previous patients. She then filled in the paperwork, removed the tourniquet and finally attached a plaster on the pad.

I was a bit taken aback, a loose pad could have rolled off and the tourniquet bled on. It could have been bled on by other patients too. I have never had this done before and was slightly bewildered.

I don't know whether I should complain or whether this is normal practise. I know on AIBU I risk being slaughtered as an mental Myrtle but settle my mind, was this risky?

Sidge Sun 20-Oct-19 12:17:42

Most places use disposable tourniquets now. So a non issue.

If not a disposable one then that is not acceptable practice in terms of infection control.

Cakeeater100 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:21:30

I am pretty sure the tourniquet was not disposable. I waited to see whether she would get rid of it, she did not.

I might call the hospital's PALS service and speak to them.

MustardScreams Sun 20-Oct-19 12:22:45

How do you know it was used multiple times? Most tourniquets, especially in phlebotomist departments are single use.

Doodledoom Sun 20-Oct-19 12:23:11

Do you l know for sure it was used on previous patients or are you just assuming?

My local hospital uses disposable ones.

ruralcat Sun 20-Oct-19 12:25:53

If it was rubber it will have been disposed of. These days I rarely come across the ones that are used over and over again.

Cakeeater100 Sun 20-Oct-19 12:29:29

I checked online and single use tourniquets tend to be plastic/latex types. This one was material and she left it on her desk. I also didn't see any tourniquet box/supplies on her desk at all.

What also slightly worried me was she needed help to know which tube to fill in and needed one other phlebotomist to help her.

SauvignonBlanche Sun 20-Oct-19 12:30:41

We only have single use tourniquets.

MustardScreams Sun 20-Oct-19 12:33:40

What also slightly worried me was she needed help to know which tube to fill in and needed one other phlebotomist to help her.

How do you think people are trained? They’re not just born knowing how to take blood you know.

itswinetime Sun 20-Oct-19 12:33:41

I haven't seen a non disposable tourniquet in hospitals for years most are a stretchy rubber material and are single use.

Of course it's possible this person was undertaking bad practice and didn't dispose of it but as you didn't see it used on anyone else you can't be sure either way. It's possible they just chose to tidy up and set back up after you left.

If your concerned of course you can raise it with pals or just give the phlebotomy department a call they are the only people who can completely reassure you l.

toomanyhobbies Sun 20-Oct-19 12:34:06

I’ve had that done several times at our hospital and eve thought anything about it. The cotton wool pad they use is normally quite big in relation to the tiny hole so no chance of it bleeding through. Never worried about it

itswinetime Sun 20-Oct-19 12:35:56

X post hospitals can change blood bottles all the time and some tests aren't as common as others I have been taking blood for years and still often check with a colleague to be sure i have the right bottle and don't make an error that would mean needing to take the sample again.

ThreeLittleDots Sun 20-Oct-19 12:37:10

Please don't take up PALS valuable time complaining about this, it's basically complete non-issue. If you have this happen again just say something to the person. I'm guessing you said nothing at the time?

Toddlerteaplease Sun 20-Oct-19 12:51:06

My hospital has single use tourniquets but I've noticed that phlebotomists still use fabric ones.

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Sun 20-Oct-19 12:56:08

It didn't slip, you didn't bleed on it. It did nit come into contact with anything other than unbrken skin. There was no sign of blood on it.

Yes, I think you have got into a bit of a tizzy about something that never happened and isn't likely to happen.

Checking which tubes to use is way preferable to guessing (greater risk of getting it wrong)

If you are concerned about a substandard test, then go and talk to PALS. But I wouldn't in these circs

Doodlepip1 Sun 20-Oct-19 13:02:29

PALS would probably laugh

Slightaggrandising Sun 20-Oct-19 13:07:47

Why do you think it might be dangerous?

LizzieMacQueen Sun 20-Oct-19 13:13:10

Why did you not just move it?

I thought we were supposed to be reducing use of single use plastics. Is there really a risk of cross contamination skin patient 1 to skin of patient 2? Surely blood pressure cuffs are reusable, what's the difference?

Honeybee85 Sun 20-Oct-19 13:16:53

I understand you OP, I would probably feel the same way but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit precious about it these things.

Can you find out if it was indeed a non - reusable tourniquet? If it was a reusable one, I think you are right to complain since it is unsanitary but I wouldn’t complain about it until you’re absolutely sure what kind they used.

Countrylifeornot Sun 20-Oct-19 13:18:23

Do you have a tongue in your head? Could you not have asked her not to use the tourniquet or removed it yourself if you were so concerned (assuming you have arms).

Why people feel the need to act as inanimate lumps of clay then run off to PALS is beyond me.

pastyballbag Sun 20-Oct-19 13:18:34

non issue

PicpouldePinet Sun 20-Oct-19 13:23:36

"Inanimate lumps of clay"... LOL

Mumsnet making me laugh again. grin

OP, would you rather she took your blood in the wrong bottle, only realising weeks later and necessitating you to return for another test, or would you rather she asked a colleague to get it right the first time?

Have you never asked a colleague at work to show you how to do something or answer a question you don't know the answer to? Kind of the same thing here, OP.

Lemonlady22 Sun 20-Oct-19 13:28:40

The fabric ones were used for years without any problems, but they do tend to use the rubber disposable one nowadays...to be honest they are not as good as they slip and come undone if not done tight enough.

Goingbacktokansascity Sun 20-Oct-19 13:38:51

You’ll be fine

AnnaMagnani Sun 20-Oct-19 13:41:34

In ye olden days before resuseable tourniquets, we used to do this all the time.

No, it's not ideal but it worked really well! I'd guess a lot of places still have the fabric tourniquets in use still. I find junior doctors hanging on to their fabric ones as they are frankly better than the new disposable ones.

And depending on what the blood test is, if it's an odd one, it's really common to have to ask what bottle it goes in. Surely better to ask than get it wrong?

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