My poor baby! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-16-2003, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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We had a very traumatic experience today. Dd had her nine-month well-visit at the clinic, and the doctor wanted to test her iron and lead levels. So we headed down to the lab and they poked her finger, of course making dd cry. But apparently she's not a bleeder (which may come in handy some day, not today). So the nurse couldn't get enough blood and had to poke another finger.. then a thumb.. then her heel.. then consulted another nurse and they tried a vein in her arm.. then the other heel. Finally, 45 minutes of screaming later, they had what they thought would probably be enough blood. It's not like they needed a lot--it was just maybe an eighth of a teaspoon that they needed. They did let me nurse dd in the middle of it to calm her down a little, but by the time they were done she was more hysterical than she's ever been and I couldn't think straight because I was so sad for her. They were talking about sending us to the hospital lab to get the blood if they couldn't do it, and if it came to that I was ready to tell them the tests weren't really that important to me. Has anyone else had to go through this? I'm still a little upset, although dd is better after a 2-hour-plus nap.
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#2 of 5 Old 06-16-2003, 10:05 PM
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I am actually a phlebotomist, and drawing blood is what I used to do for a living. (Refused to do it once I found out I was pregnant due to the risk of a needle stick, and have only drawn DH since.)

I am not great with children owing to the fact that I have never really had to draw them much. (No ped ward at the hospital I trained at, and then I transferred to a job where I drew only elderly people in their homes.) When I AM confronted with having to draw a child, I feel around with my finger in both arms and both wrists before I do anything. IF I find a great vein, I will draw it. If not, I will NOT draw a mediocre vein. And I never, ever, ever fish around on anyone. I might push the advance or draw the needle straight back, but that is all. I know my limits and then offer the parents the options they have available to them. Heel and finger sticks are easier for me, but I prefer not to do them if I can avoid it because it takes forever and the blood clots too easily. I now work (well, when I go back to work) in the lab itself and take a lot of phone calls. If someone asks, I send them to the people who are extremely experienced at drawing children.

Following my "policy", I have only once ever not been able to get blood from a child I have stuck. And it should be noted that we have a real policy at my hospital that NOBODY sticks ANY patient more than twice. With children, if for some reason I don't get blood the first time or decide I am not going to stick them at all, I call the NICU and ask them if I can send the child up.

So, what I am trying to say is there is NO REASON why this should have happened to your daughter. Saying someone is "not a bleeder" is code for "I didn't do this right but don't want to admit it." While it is true that some people bleed more than others, it is possible to get blood from everyone.

Sorry I went on about this, but it is a subject that makes me angry. Phlebotomists (or whoever is drawing blood) should know their limits and not be ashamed to admit them.

The patient comes first!!!!

I am sooooo soooo soooo sorry for you dd. Give her lots of extra hugs.
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#3 of 5 Old 06-17-2003, 07:57 AM
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Yes, in this case you should have picked your daughter up and walked out politely.
If she's a healthy nine month old (nursing, sleeping,...) then why put her through that?! The doctor staff is unfortunately just doing their job (and in a real crappy way). You're the only one in that situation who is going to stand up for your daughter's TRUE best interest.
I am NOT NOT NOT trying to make you feel guilty (although I can tell you already do). I've simply had similar experiences with dd1 (for which I still feel very guilty). Now I've finally learned to speak up ---speak my mothering heart no matter what. AND we very rarely go to the doctor anymore---we're healthy people. And even when we're sick if anything I just call the doctor's office...
Anyhow, next time when you hear your mothering heart freaking out inside of you.....think only of your daughter and make no apologies for it. YOU know what's in her best interest...not them.
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#4 of 5 Old 06-17-2003, 09:14 AM
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Oh I feel for you both! I have rotten veins for drawing blood and have learnt the hard way to jump up and down, loudly warning the staff that I have difficult veins and reciting how I once got stuck 5 times receiving numerous bruises .... so then they make sure to give me an EXPERIENCED blood drawer. At my hospital I ask for him by name cause he can get me in one go. And it's even worse with kids. My dh used to have to draw blood but he couldn't handle doing babies - he wasn't used to doing them and would get stressed out when they cried... I feel sorry for the staff too. I think the lead test is important. At least next time, you'll know your baby doesn't give up her blood so easy and can try and make sure you get a really experienced drawer. How were you to know the first time.
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#5 of 5 Old 06-17-2003, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the sympathy, everyone. I guess that's what I was looking for, because my dh was there but seemed to think it wasn't that big a deal. It's not as hard on him as it is on me to see her cry.

I also didn't know if I was overreacting, because I'm not used to seeing her so upset--I didn't know if maybe I should just expect that at the doctor's office and let it roll off my back more easily.

Maggie's Mom, I like that policy of not sticking anyone more than twice. By my count, dd got it six times, so we would have been done much sooner with that policy.

Now that I think back, the woman drawing blood was talking about getting it from other babies, but didn't seem very experienced at it. The blood was going everywhere--all over her hands and the chair and dd's hand--but she couldn't seem to get it in the little container. Adding to the problem, though, was the fact that my dh knew her and they were chatting the whole time, so that made me feel a little more obligated to be nice to her. I suppose without that I would have walked out sooner. Yes, I need to get better at standing up for my precious girl until she can learn to do it for herself.
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