by Dennis Ernst • December 11, 2017
Dear Center for Phlebotomy Education:
Our staff is concerned about having to hold onto a squirming, crying baby's heel long enough for it to stop bleeding. Parents also are anxious to get going home. So can my staff use a non-adhesive bandage like CobanTM to help slow the bleeding and let the parents hold the child until they calm down? This would allow the baby time to settle down and the bleeding would stop more quickly.
Such a remedy would be acceptable if the phlebotomist removed it after bleeding has stopped. Even though it's less of a choking risk than an adhesive bandage, if the baby was sent home with a Coban-type wrap and actually choked on it, a savvy lawyer might try to convince a jury it's still technically a "bandage" and therefore a violation of the standard for infant heelsticks. It's unfortunate we have to think in those terms, but this is all about risk management.
Personally, we feel it's exceedingly unlikely, and it may be a viable alternative to bandaging. This does not constitute legal or medical advice, however, just our two cents. You should consider this option with your risk manager.
Got a challenging phlebotomy situation or work-related question? Email us your submission at [email protected] and you just might see it as a future case study. (Names and identifiers will be removed to assure anonymity.)
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