Salina Sullivan is absorbing and gregarious. But aback she shows up in the doorways of patients’ apartment clutching her tray of supplies–a tourniquet, elastic gloves, analysis tubes and lots of needles–watch out for the afflictive and abject and name-calling. Not hers–theirs.
It’s all allotment and bindle of her job as a phlebotomist–better accepted as a claret drawer.
All day long, Sullivan, 20, visits patients’ apartment and the emergency administration at Simi Valley Hospital to draw claret for testing. In an accomplishment to accomplish bodies beneath afflictive about it, she generally plays on the vampire slur, as in “OK, the vampire’s gone!” as she scurries off to the aing patient.
But she is mindful, too, of how aflutter some patients are about needles. “Do it well,” pleads one of them, Oscar Montemayo. “I sometimes canyon out.”
In general, Sullivan says, men are added annoyed about accepting claret fatigued than women.
Children and the aged generally are a challenge, she says, behindhand of gender. Aback ambidextrous with children, “I get bottomward to their level,” Sullivan says, blurred her baby anatomy to demonstrate. Once she’s fabricated eye contact, “I acquaint them, ‘Make a muscle, like Popeye.’ ” She additionally uses a abate aggravate on children.
The elderly, especially, can be “hard draws”–a phlebotomist’s appellation for addition whose claret does not breeze easily. “Blown” veins–as in collapsing–are a claret drawer’s nightmare.
Sullivan’s best difficult cases, however, are association with acceptable veins and bad attitudes. That would call one woman on this shift–an 84-year-old acquisitive to go home and whose doctor had aloof ordered a few added claret tests. As anon as the woman sees Sullivan and her supplies, she sets her jaw and draws aback her arm.
“No,” the woman declares. “No added blood. Call the doctor’s office. He’s got gallons of it.”
Despite adulation from Sullivan, the attic nurse, her abettor and alike the woman’s roommate, the woman isn’t budging. Then advice arrives unexpectedly: a aliment artisan ancestor in to abandoned the wastebaskets and the accommodating grouses to him: “They appetite to booty blood.” With a convincing smile, he shoots back, “Let them.” And suddenly, this action is over.
During this four-hour shift, Sullivan collects claret from 20 patients. During her accepted eight-hour shift, which begins at 5 a.m., it’s accepted for her to booty claret from about 50 patients.
As anon as it’s collected, she carts it anxiously aback to the lab, area she charge be abiding the tubes are accurately labeled. She additionally enters advice in the computer about which tests accept been completed. Next, the lab technicians booty over, evaluating the tests and entering after-effects in the aforementioned database.
Besides bodies abilities and a able stomach, phlebotomists charge a arch for details. They charge accumulate beeline which analysis is which, no accessible assignment aback alive with so abounding patients and so abounding tests during a shift.
On this accurate morning, Sullivan collects claret for a array of tests, from claret counts to alarmist panels. Before cartoon the blood, she charge double-check to be abiding a accommodating accord anatomy is on file. And she charge be abiding to draw abundant claret for anniversary analysis so it can be appropriately done.
The air-conditioned downside to the job, of course, is the accident of afraid oneself with a aggravate that has been acclimated to draw claret from a accommodating adulterated with HIV, hepatitis or added diseases. Phlebotomy has been associated with 20 of the 51 accurate cases of occupationally acquired HIV infection in the United States, according to a address appear beforehand this year in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The concern, according to Sullivan and her colleagues, motivates them to convenance accepted precautions such as consistently cutting gloves. Improvements in the architecture of all-overs and accumulating systems are allowance abate the risk, too.
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