Phlebotomy Puncture Juncture: Preventing Phlebotomy Errors - Potential For Harming Your Patients

Helen Ogden-Grable, MT(ASCP)PBT; Gary W. Gill, CT(ASCP), CFIAC


Lab Med. 2005;36(7):430-433. 

In This Article

Selecting The Venipuncture Site

When a phlebotomist chooses to ignore the rules of site selection for venipuncture, he/she runs the risk of causing harm to their patients. See Table 1 for a guide to selecting the venipuncture site.

If a phlebotomist has chosen to use the basilic vein when there is a usable median antecubital vein or cephalic vein, and the patient suffers an arterial nick or nerve damage -- with the possibility of loss of arm movement or bleeding into the arm -- legal action may be taken by the patient or the doctor.

If no written order from the doctor exists and the phlebotomist performs a foot draw and complications arise there will be no possible defense in the courtroom should the patient or the doctor take legal action.

If a phlebotomist uses the underside of the wrist, which is a no-draw area, there is the possibility of hitting the radial or ulnar nerve or artery. Hitting the nerve in the underside of the wrist can cause temporary or permanent nerve damage and the patient may lose the ability to open and close their hand.