To draw blood or not?

Nurses General Nursing


Can a nurse take blood without first giving the person his/her privacy rights?

Jolie, BSN

6,375 Posts

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health.

I'm not sure what you mean. Are you referring to obtaining informed consent prior to drawing blood for HIV testing?

Or has HIPAA now turned us into cops? Do we have to give patients a "Miranda Warning" before we care for them?


6 Posts

It was hard to word. The patient blood was drawn for a DUI but then refused the blood test from the cops. But the hospital released it because it says in there privace acts that they can release it to law enforcment agencies, but the patient did not know his/her rights of this release or they would have not given blood

Todd SPN

319 Posts

Very interesting just thinking of the implications. Please keep us updated on how this comes out.

nurseygrrl, LPN

445 Posts

Specializes in HIV/AIDS, Dementia, Psych.

I don't think they can release to law enforcement any more with HIPAA can they?

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

Yes they can they just need a subpoena.

Ned the Red

86 Posts

But can you draw blood in the first place without the pt giving permission? I wouldn't think you'd be able to do it simply on the authority of the leo, would you?


44 Posts

you can draw blood on the patient but without giving them a list of rights just explain

"mr. person i am going to take some blood to run some tests ok?"

and they stick out their arm and tadah!

you need them to sign a consent for HIV testing after they get "counselled" by the doc ( in my hospital)

and you can release info to places like DCFS, funeral homes, Organ procurement etc. as long as it is tracked and reported

Ned the Red

86 Posts

Without addressing the legality it sounds kinda unethical to trick someone into giving blood for a test they probably don't want. But...


1 Article; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in Everything except surgery.

First it depends on what state you're licensed in, as to what an officer can or can't do or have done. In some states you can be forced to give blood, but they had better be darn sure if will show your blood level as being high!!!

Also it varying in some states as to how long you will have your license suspensed for refusing. Some states are as long as one year, but you may still be convicted, if don't have a good attorney, which can cost a LOT of money, by the officers testimonty. Or the state's attorney could say you knew you were guilty that is why you refused.

And they don't get a subpoena, they need a search warrants, again in some states.

I'm not an attorney, but I watch a lot of cop and lawyer shows:chuckle j/k Have lots of cop friends:)!


294 Posts

The only couple of times I witnessed a "legal" blood draw, the cop had to be in the room when it was drawn- I think it was a chain of evidence issue. Also, the blood had to be drawn peripherally, not from the central line, to avoid a question of contamination. Neither patient was able to consent- both had serious head traumas. The trauma docs who had more experience than I in the situation said the cop could have the blood drawn and whether to admit it into court or not was something for the court to answer later.

It's likely different in different states, but I don't think "therapeutic" draws can be admitte into court everywhere. Knowing a BAL or benzo level might be important for treating them, and therefore not require consent in an emergency.

Always inform the patient.

Be straight w/ him/her

Keep your objectivity...

The ER is full of azzholes, and it's easy to want to see someone (obviously drunk) go down, but just do your job!

Many cops have wanted the ER doc/nurse to deceive the patient.

Deception sucks!

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