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Another Texas Infant Scalded in Heelstick Incident

by Dennis Ernst • September 01, 2016

DanaMartinezMonsarrat_AustinTXDana Martinez took her baby to a Texas Hospital for her two-week newborn screening collection. The baby left with second-degree burns on her heel from the prewarming.

According to a report posted on KXAN-Austin, the medical assistant performing the puncture at Children’s Health Center in Marble Falls put a gel pack into a microwave to warm it up prior to application. In the KXAN interview, Martinez claims the baby immediately began to cry when the pack was put onto her heel. After the draw, the medical assistant left the room to get the doctor, who inspected the heel and found the infant was burned.

Martinez complained to the Texas Medical Board, which ruled there was no violation in the standard of care, and did not launch an investigation. She started a petition to stop the use of plastic gels in pediatrician offices.

"We are appalled that this kind of preventable injury continues to happen," says the Center for Phlebotomy Education's director, Dennis J. Ernst MT(ASCP), NCPT(NCCT). "For regulators and legislators and medical boards not to demand minimum training requirements for specimen collection personnel after seeing things like this is dereliction of duty."

A similar incident took place in Houston last summer when a nurse prewarmed a newborn's heel by warming a wet diaper in a microwave. 

The industry standards limit the temperature for prewarming capillary puncture sites to 42-degrees Celsius. 

View the KXAN news clip. 

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