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Venipuncture-related Injuries Get CAP's Attention

by Dennis Ernst • April 05, 2018

Standard on blocksThe College of American Pathologists recently turned the spotlight on the risks patients are subjected to when phlebotomy standards are not taught and reinforced. In the February issue of CAP Today, senior editor Amy Carpenter Aquino authored Procedures Up to Date? Fighting Injury in Phlebotomy, which details the extent to which patients can be injured when phlebotomy personnel aren't aware of the newly revised venipuncture standard, released a year ago by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute.

"The new venipuncture standard is the most comprehensive revision in the document's 40-year history," says Dennis J. Ernst MT(ASCP), NCPT(NCCT), who chaired the revision and was interviewed for the article. "I'm thrilled CAP Today brought this to their subscribers' attention." Ernst, who regularly reviews legal cases involving phlebotomy-related injuries, can't emphasize enough how important it is for labs to update their procedures. "Facilities that have not yet updated their SOPS to reflect GP41-A7 risk operating beneath the standard of care. Trust me, attorneys representing patients claiming to be injured are going to check to see what version your SOPs reflect. If it's not GP41, you're in for some sleepless nights."

The article reveals common lapses from the standards that have lead to permanent patient injury and litigation including drawing from risky areas, improper patient positioning, and inserting the needle at an excessive angle. Actual cases were shared in the article by Nancy Erickson PBT(ASCP), a product specialist for Greiner Bio-One North America who also serves as an expert witness in phlebotomy litigation and has reviewed over 30 cases. She cites nerve injury and arterial laceration as some of the common injuries she sees, and a lack of education and failure to follow the standards as the common contributors.

Editor's note: A compelling video of our director's experience as an expert witness is available for viewing on our web site. By special arrangement with CLSI, the Center for Phlebotomy Education makes GP41-A7 available for immediate purchase (hard copy or download). Click here to order or for more information.


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