Has Been Trying In Vein

, , , , , | Healthy | July 14, 2018

(I have been donating blood at least twice a year ever since I was 18 years old. Once the needle gets into a vein, I have no problems filling the bag. The problem is my veins tend to “squirm” under my skin, and if they don’t get pierced straight on, they have a habit of popping. Due to this, I am rather used to them needing multiple attempts to stick me. One time, I go in to make my donation, and after doing all of the paperwork, I am sat on the bench. The phlebotomist — blood drawer — walks up with a young guy.)

Phlebotomist: “Mr. [My Name]? This is [Trainee], and he is a trainee with us. He is almost done with his training. Would you be okay if he did the needle insertion on you today?”

Me: “I mean, it’s fine with me, but he might have a hard time. I’m sometimes hard to stick.”

Phlebotomist: “Okay, [Trainee], I’ll be over there if you need me.”

(The phlebotomist then walks away to go do a draw from another donor across the room.)

Me: “All right, [Trainee], looks like it’s just the two of us. Just to warn you, my veins tend to squirm a bit, and are easy to pop. Just take your time.”

Trainee: “Don’t worry, sir. This should be easy. Just squeeze on this ball, and… Shoot.”

(He slid the needle into my arm, and, like I warned him, my vein moved out of the way. He tries to change the angle of the needle while it is in my arm, causing a good bit of pain, and then scrapes the side of the vein, popping it.)

Trainee: “Darn! Don’t worry; this is fine. There is another vein I can use. Just make sure you sit still, please. Please squeeze. D***!”  

(Another squirm and another pop, luckily with no digging inside of my flesh this time.)

Me: “Do you think you should get your trainer to come and look?”

Trainee: “No, sir. I am almost fully trained, and I have done this before. Is it okay if I move over to your other arm and give that one a shot?”

Me: “Sure, but you are going to have the same problem over there.”

(He moves over to my other side, cleans the skin, ties off the band, pokes at my vein with his finger a couple of times, and lines up the needle.)

Me: “Are you sure you don’t want to call your trainer over?”

Trainee: “I’m sure, sir. This will be fine. Just please don’t move while I’m inserting the needle. Squeeze. Fu… Um… Hey, [Phlebotomist], could you come over for a second, please?”

(He has managed to pop the third vein, and when extracting the needle, he ripped my skin a bit, causing me to start bleeding. When the phlebotomist gets over, he says to her:)

Trainee: “I don’t know what this guy is doing, but he keeps moving his veins while I’m working.”

Phlebotomist: “I doubt he is doing it on purpose. Let me try another vein, and I’ll show you how to do it.”

Trainee: “Umm… I already tried both elbows, and the veins all popped under me.”

Phlebotomist: “Why didn’t you call me when you started having trouble?”

Trainee: “It would have been fine if he hadn’t been wiggling his veins. Look, I tried both in his left arm, and one in his right, but his right is bleeding now, so I can’t do the other. Do you think I should go for an artery?”

Phlebotomist & Me: “WHAT?!”

Phlebotomist: “NO! YOU DO NOT TAKE BLOOD FROM AN ARTERY! NOT WITH THE TRAINING YOU HAVE! That donor over there is almost full; go take his needle out when he is done, and point him to the snacks.”

(The trainee walks away, muttering something under his breath that I can only assume is more blaming me for moving my veins. The phlebotomist apologizes profusely, saying that she hasn’t had any trouble with him yet today, he has been good with other donors, etc. As they can’t get blood from popped veins, she tells me to come back in a month after they have healed up. As I’m walking to the front door, I walk past the trainee, who gives me a glare, and says:)

Trainee: “Next time, sir, please hold still while we are inserting the needle.”

(When I went back in, the phlebotomist recognized me, and came up to apologize again, and said that the trainee no longer worked there, at least partially due to the fact that he kept blaming the donors if anything went wrong.)

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