Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just Looking for a Little Respect from the Healthcare System and Its People

For the third week in a row I'm having to have blood work done, so yesterday I went to see the vampires (phlebotomists; it's my little nickname for them) at my local lab. A new tech insisted on searching both arms for veins, even though I showed him the ONE AND ONLY spot on my body where a vein can by found. He pinched my arms with those stupid rubber straps, had me pump my fists, wiped alcohol all around - and guess where the blood was drawn? Yep, exactly where I showed him to draw it in the first place.

I'm pretty steamed about the incident. How 'bout a little RESPECT, people? Maybe an ounce of compassion? Would you just LISTEN to what I'm telling you?

In the past 2 1/2 years I've had three major surgeries, six or eight medical procedures and about 75 blood draws, each of which required a needle in a vein. I've always been a "hard stick" and these days the sticks are more difficult than ever. Why did the tech disregard my comments? Did he believe he could discover a blood vessel that the other dozens of techs couldn't find? Because I insisted that there would be no iffy attempts, at least I didn't have to suffer through another needle digging around under my skin, hopelessly searching for a vein that wasn't going to cooperate.

This tech isn't alone - the scenario occurs repeatedly. To the phlebotomists of the world, I say, Respect your patients and heed what they are telling you. Especially those of us with chronic illnesses - we already suffer enough.

Maybe, at the end of the day, it's simply putting the Golden Rule into play: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As it applies elsewhere in life, this adage can work in the world of medicine. I, for one, will be grateful.


Anonymous said...

I know you have been through a lot and respect your strength, courage and determination. You are obviously an alpha female. But your recent experience at the lab can likely be attributed to medical policies that require the technician drawing your blood to closely follow a certain procedure for determining the best vein location. The technician was probably doing what he was trained and required to do.

Anonymous said...

I find your lack of gratitude for those that care for you appaling. You should wake up every day and thank god you are alive instead of complaining about the various things that are not perfect. the health care workers that take your blood, etc are lifesavers. I am sorry it hurts and annoys you, they are probably more annoyed they have to deal with a patient like yourself. Find the best in this grateful. stop complaining and whining. you are alive.


Well said, I think if you tell the phlebotomist that you already know from your many previous experiences that the best place to draw blood from is in a certain area, than they should at least start there. And if they don't have any success then by all means poke away.
I find Anonymous's dig on your lack of gratitude mean, venemous and hurtful. This person definetely has some issues.

I have had some bad experiences with the health care system and have witnessed some awful abusive protocols by staff members because workers are obviously angry. I attribute that to long 12 hour shifts, changing bed pans and lack of respect by their seniors and the patients they look after. My response to that is if you don't like your job then go find another.