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There Will Be Blood (Twice)

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 13, 2023

As a student midwife, one of the things that I had to learn was drawing blood for testing.

One morning, I was given this task as there were a lot of blood tests due and it would be good practice. Together with my mentor, I put together all the bundles of equipment I would need into trays along with the paperwork for the test, so I could pick up the next set while sending the ones I had just taken to the lab. My mentor joined me for the first couple to make sure of my technique, and then I was set loose on my own.

After four women, I had gotten into a routine: enter the bedside, introduce myself and explain why I was there, check that I had the right patient, place the tourniquet, find the vein, clean the skin, needle in, attach the blood bottle, take the blood, detach the blood bottle, release the tourniquet, needle out and onto the tray, plaster on, and throw the contents of tray into the sharps bin. Then, I would sit and write the name of the patient on the blood bottle and package it up to send to the lab.

I got to one patient’s room who needed multiple bottles of blood, so I put them all down on the tray as I filled them. Then, when I had finished, I picked up the tray and threw every single blood bottle into the sharps bin.

I have never felt my stomach drop so quickly, and the look of horror on my face as I turned around to my patient (who it turned out was a nurse) made her burst out laughing.

As I was taking her blood again, she told me the story of the first time she had done that and reassured me that I was now part of a very large club.

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