There has to be a BETTER WAY to obtain a blood sample.

Posted
by lady3 (New) New

Hi. I am not a nurse but a concerned parent of a half year old baby. I was searching online about the necessity of heel sticks and this is where I got to since the "heel sticks" topic is closed I will leave my comment here.

My baby was not a premature baby, she was just born with typical mild jaundice. So at the hospital she was taken away to test levels. I asked the nurse about what she will do and she said don't worry it is just a little prick in the foot. Okay. Three days later at the doctor's office they decided to retest levels. The technician or nurse who did it took MINUTES and it was not a "LITTLE PRICK."

I was devastated. My poor baby crying in AGONY. I didn't know what to do but ask do you really need that much blood. I am still traumatized about this experience. I am traumatized. WHAT ABOUT MY BABY???!! My poor baby crying in AGONY.

I had no idea about this to save her as this is my first baby.

If I knew about this "hell prick" I would NEVER EVER allow any nurse or anyone else for that matter to do that to my baby.

There has to be a BETTER WAY to obtain a blood sample.

And after reading some of these NICU patient comments I am devastated for these poor poor babies.

Please as nurses don't allow yourself to do this procedure if you are not good at it. Truth hurts, but you are really making these babies suffer. And I want to let you know I am angry at your profession for this. You have to find a right way to do this. It is unacceptable that these babies should suffer so much!! I want to scream and cry at the same time.

NicuGal, MSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience. 2,743 Posts

We really can't address this on here. But heelsticks are the acceptable way of obtaining blood from newborns.

Jory, MSN, APRN, CNM

Has 10 years experience. 1,482 Posts

Ok...this is going to be an unpopular post, but anyone who has worked in the NICU knows what I am talking about.

You only need one heel warmer..I use extra tape or even a washcloth to hold it...3 to 4 minutes minimum.

Remove heel warmer. Instead of just firing the lancet with it barely touching the skin..push the lancet against the skin firmly...then fire it. This makes a deeper cut and actually hurts less. This is one of the reasons you are not getting more blood...you are not getting a deep enough cut. If your unit is using the same lancets for heel sticks as it is for finger sticks for blood sugar..this too, is part of the problem. The lancets designed for finger sticks are designed for minimum damage and you'll never get anything out of it.

When it starts bleeding, have your microtainers available and you need to work quickly...I have two things ready...a 2x2 gauze with sterile water and a dry 2x2 gauze. I use the scoop and make sure the foot is pointed DOWN..if you hold it up, you restrict blood flow. You also cannot squeeze and hold it or too hard..you "milk" the foot. If the blood starts getting everywhere, use the dry gauze...this keeps it going into your tube. If it starts to dry, use the wet 2x2 gauze...NEVER use the alcohol wipe to wipe it again! I see so many nurses do that and it's cruel! Unfortunately, the crying actually helps the process.

Hope this helps.

Jory, MSN, APRN, CNM

Has 10 years experience. 1,482 Posts

Hi. I am not a nurse but a concerned parent of a half year old baby. I was searching online about the necessity of heel sticks and this is where I got to since the "heel sticks" topic is closed I will leave my comment here.

My baby was not a premature baby, she was just born with typical mild jaundice. So at the hospital she was taken away to test levels. I asked the nurse about what she will do and she said don't worry it is just a little prick in the foot. Okay. Three days later at the doctor's office they decided to retest levels. The technician or nurse who did it took MINUTES and it was not a "LITTLE PRICK."

I was devastated. My poor baby crying in AGONY. I didn't know what to do but ask do you really need that much blood. I am still traumatized about this experience. I am traumatized. WHAT ABOUT MY BABY???!! My poor baby crying in AGONY.

I had no idea about this to save her as this is my first baby.

If I knew about this "hell prick" I would NEVER EVER allow any nurse or anyone else for that matter to do that to my baby.

There has to be a BETTER WAY to obtain a blood sample.

And after reading some of these NICU patient comments I am devastated for these poor poor babies.

Please as nurses don't allow yourself to do this procedure if you are not good at it. Truth hurts, but you are really making these babies suffer. And I want to let you know I am angry at your profession for this. You have to find a right way to do this. It is unacceptable that these babies should suffer so much!! I want to scream and cry at the same time.

I'm sorry, but not every aspect of healthcare is pleasant and your baby has tons of shots ahead of them unless you are planning not to vaccinate your baby. When babies get hurt, they cry, that's all there is to it. Not everything in life is pleasant and some things just have to be done. If you really want to see suffering, try visiting a pediatric or cancer burn unit. Some of the treatments are very painful and the alternative is no treatment and then the child dies. Take your pick.

Your baby's reaction is HIGHLY dependent on yours. If you freak out, your baby will freak out. I have seen this over and over again. My children have NO FEAR of the doctor, because they have been raised that blood draws and shots are a part of healthcare and they don't even cry. This is because of how they were raised.

Bilirubin must be monitored..bottom line. Bilirubin levels that are left to get out of control (you can find this on Wikipedia), can cause irreversible brain damage and blood draws are the only way to monitor it.

Don't down the nurses and the doctors for making sure your baby was healthy. The alternative was to not monitor your baby at all.

Sometimes, Option B doesn't exist.

If you can invent a way to obtain a blood sample without breaking the skin, trust me, you'll never work another day in your life and every healthcare business in the country will be in a bidding war to buy your invention.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 42 years experience. 4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Hi. I am not a nurse but a concerned parent of a half year old baby. I was searching online about the necessity of heel sticks and this is where I got to since the "heel sticks" topic is closed I will leave my comment here.

My baby was not a premature baby, she was just born with typical mild jaundice. So at the hospital she was taken away to test levels. I asked the nurse about what she will do and she said don't worry it is just a little prick in the foot. Okay. Three days later at the doctor's office they decided to retest levels. The technician or nurse who did it took MINUTES and it was not a "LITTLE PRICK."

I was devastated. My poor baby crying in AGONY. I didn't know what to do but ask do you really need that much blood. I am still traumatized about this experience. I am traumatized. WHAT ABOUT MY BABY???!! My poor baby crying in AGONY.

I had no idea about this to save her as this is my first baby.

If I knew about this "hell prick" I would NEVER EVER allow any nurse or anyone else for that matter to do that to my baby.

There has to be a BETTER WAY to obtain a blood sample.

And after reading some of these NICU patient comments I am devastated for these poor poor babies.

Please as nurses don't allow yourself to do this procedure if you are not good at it. Truth hurts, but you are really making these babies suffer. And I want to let you know I am angry at your profession for this. You have to find a right way to do this. It is unacceptable that these babies should suffer so much!! I want to scream and cry at the same time.

Unfortunately....there isn't really a better way.

There are necessary things that need to be done for your baby to be sure they are healthy. Elevated Bilirubin levels are extremely dangerous to your baby. The BEST way to do this....is the heel stick. The other option is a needle which on a newborn can be challenging at best!

While it is a moment you will NEVER forget...your baby will never remember. Babies will cry from the time we start a procedure until they are back in Momma's arms. Sometimes we as parent have to do what is best for our children because we love them and want them healthy.

As nurses we will do what is best for the baby the best way we can.

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

I have no idea about a better way, but who has decided that THIS is the better way? what other options have been tried?

NicuGal, MSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience. 2,743 Posts

They can try to do a venous or arterial stick but it would be the same thing, the baby will scream and cry. And that isn't a guaranteed way to get it on the first stick, sometimes it can take 2 or 3 times to get a good vein or artery. The heel is a rich vascular bed and it is the easiest way to get blood. Sorry you don't like it, but this is what being a mom is about, sometimes you have to be there for your child while they are hurting. Just be thankful it was only a heel stick and that your baby is not on our world, the ICU where they get stuck sometimes Ina daily basis and have many procedures done to them everyday. Like someone else said, if you can figure out a way to get blood from a baby any other way, you will be a rich lady. I have been doing this for 30 years, believe me, a heels stick compared to a really high bili level and the treatment for it is a cakewalk.

ChipNurse

180 Posts

I believe the other option was addressed already. They would try to do a intravenous blood draw, which would be nearly impossible on a newborn who is moving constantly. The heel stick is much easier and faster and less traumatic in the long run, not mention less of an infection risk than an unnecessary blood draw. Personally, you need to hold it together. Your baby is fine and will not remember any of this. Babies are going to cry anytime they experience discomfort ie: heel sticks, vaccinations, bumped head, gas pain, hunger, poopy diaper, etc; it is the way they communicate how they are feeling. You don't see adults screaming bloody murder and crying when they get any of these procedures ie: finger sticks, IVs, flu shot, bumped head, stubbed toe; we can say "ow" and have developed other ways than crying to cope with discomfort. Believe it or not, nurses and doctors do not get satisfaction out of inflicting discomfort on patients, but we have to from time to time to get tests done that can potentially diagnose or treat disease. Please do not judge nurses on their job when you are not even trained to do it yourself.

PulselessNine

Has 3 years experience. 76 Posts

Lady3 -- I remember feeling the way you do now. As traumatic as it is for a new mom or dad to see their child screaming, I can say from experience that your pain will pass slower than your child's every time. I have been amazed at the rebound of my children over the years. I hope you are able to see some calm and that your new baby is consoled simply by your touch. You have a blessing and miracle there. Congratulations.

My son spent a week in PICU when he was 17 lbs....he was intubated and required an LP among other things. He ended up, when the week was done, having had five IV sticks as all the others infiltrated or didn't work first try. I have four children and I've watched them each have the follow up heel stick screen at the pediatrician's. it's a walk in the park compared to multiple IVs and a spinal tap. If there were a better way, I'm sure we would be using it, but in the grand scheme of things a heel stick is more traumatic for mom or dad than for baby.

rnkaytee

219 Posts

We do always use sucrose, swaddling and non-nutritive sucking during blood draws - that helps quite a bit. Also, I use a cut-off butterfly and do a draw off the dorsum of the hand and drip the blood into the microtainers - only can do with kids that haven't had a ton of starts but it's pretty slick and faster than a heelstick.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 14 years experience. 1,919 Posts

Wait, I'm confused. Your baby is 6 months old and has jaundice? That sounds more like a liver problem than typical newborn jaundice.