Phlebotomist / Lab Technician

Phlebotomist / Lab Technician

Sr. Lab Guy

20 Years Experience

San Bernardino, CA

Male, 52

For 6 years I was a Laboratory Technician in the Air Force Reserves, working all aspects of the laboratory as well as accomplishing "blood draws" (phlebotomy) in every imaginable setting (inpatient and outpatient).  I have also worked in the private sector for hospitals, doctor offices, and clinical lab sites.  This was my primary field for 20 total years (which began with the Air Force training).  I've been in a new career for ten years, though I recall virtually all of my lab science.

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Last Answer on November 02, 2018

Best Rated

My family tends to get false low platelet and wbc counts. I was told by a friend that there is a special tube or procedure that they do while drawing blood that prevents any false low readings but could not recall what exactly it was. Do you know?

Asked by Sally 12 months ago

Hi thank you for your question. This sounds like the patient may have an underlying condition that is contributing to falsely low WBC and platelet levels. Since I am not a physician I really couldn't say what those conditions are. There are ways to separate cells in the blood outside of the body. A process called "phoresis" is one I've heard of. But for a very good answer to your question call a local hospital, ask for the lab, then ask for a "Lab Tech". They could help you with this question better than I.

I recently got blood drawn in my left hand. I heard a hissing sound, like that of air being let out of a tire and then there was a bump/bubble under my skin. The tech applied lots of pressure but did not inform me of what happened. Can you tell me?

Asked by vacation12 about 1 month ago

Hi Vacation12,  Thanks for your question.  I'm going to attempt to answer this in two parts:  1)  The "hissing noise" and 2) The "bubble".  Firstly, that hissing sound.  I can say that in 20 years of drawing blood I have only heard a hissing sound maybe twice during a blood draw, and both times were in the hand of a patient.  The needles are very small, and the skin in the hands of many patients are quite fragile, so it is possible that the bevel (the machined inner incline) of the needle simply began to slip above the skin.  As the collection tubes are vacuum tubes, they would thus be sucking up air and not blood.  That would have been the noise you heard.  This is the most likely scenario.  It is possible, but unlikely, that the needle's attachment to the syringe or tubing was defective or not tight enough but again, that's fairly unlikely.  As for the "bubble", at the moment the needle began to slip out of the vein, blood would have infiltrated the surrounding subcutaneous tissue causing a hematoma, or small blood blister.  This is why the phlebotomist put extra pressure on the site to avoid an expansion of the "bubble" and to wait for the blood to begin clotting.  Usually we suggested ice and ibuprofen for pain and swelling if required.  The bruising usually goes away in about a week and doesn't normally cause problems.  But beyond a week, or if the pain is severe and not abating within 24 hours you'll probably want to check with your doctor. 

I want to be a lab tech, but I have to take a phlebotomy coarse. The trouble is giving blood or doing blood work makes me nauseous. Do you think this will be an issue?

Asked by Ryab 4 months ago

Hi Ryab,  Well, to be honest, it could be a problem.  We had a gentleman in my military class that would sweat profusely and faint during the "first trials".  He eventually was pulled from the class and reassigned.  It's possible on the civilian side you could ask for counseling, but I'm guessing at best.  To my knowledge, most lab techs have to be phlebotomy certified.  Check with your program to see what your options are.  Good luck in your endeavors!

What shots need to be updated in order to get in the phlebotomist class

Asked by Mary Morgan 5 months ago

Hi Mary Morgan, I don't recall any such requirement in either my military training or my civilian courses. But it is possible that each region has its own protocols. Best to check with the classes in your area. Good luck to you!

Does donation plasma remove hcg from blood giving false negitive

Asked by Cassidy 10 days ago