"It took 7 attempts to draw blood from my week old baby"

About: Rotherham Hospital / Paediatrics

(as the patient),

I went with my week old baby to the children's ward in Rotherham in March. It was found that he had a reflux problem and also a heart murmur.

I was extremely angry at the SHO (senior house officer) as, when she tried to take blood I offered to assist but she declined my help. Just as she was about to draw blood the child moved and she pulled the needle away. This was the only vein which would have provided an adequate sample. It took two more doctors and seven attempts to take blood from my child after the first incident. In each subsequent case the registrar always had a nurse to help, to hold the child's leg, so why didn't the SHO? The attempts to take blood started in the afternoon and finished at 1am! The registrar had to squeeze blood from the heel of my child drop by drop.

I believe that if the SHO hadn't been so arrogant or had better training, the subsequent attempts for samples would have been necessary.

I was extremely upset and my new born son was greatly distressed.

Despite this the nursing care was excellent, there was continuity and both nurses took great care to explain what was happening. The auxiliaries were also great! Both nurses were friendly, cheerful and approachable.

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Responses

Response from Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your comments, I am sorry to hear that the process of taking your baby’s blood was not straightforward.

Taking blood samples from young children can be technically difficult, particularly if the child is unwell. We would usually recommend that a nurse or health care assistant assist the doctor or nurse. The procedure does carry some risks for the patient and individuals doing it therefore we would not normally ask a parent to assist. We may elect to take the blood sample from the heel rather than a vein in newborn babies. This will involve gently squeezing the heel and collecting the blood drop by drop. Babies and young children do not like to be have their movement restricted and will respond by crying and pulling the limb away.

The staff understand that parents often find it distressing to watch their child undergoing this type of procedure. If a parent thinks they may find it too upsetting they can leave the room until the staff have finished. Others choose to stay to comfort their child.