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Blood and guts. Or just blood.

Mia had to have blood drawn yesterday (she's fine, just ruling a couple of things out). She had blood drawn about a year ago to do allergy testing and it was fine. I mean, she screamed and cried and screamed some more, but the lab was great. They took us back right away, spoke sweetly and soothingly to her, had enough staff at the ready to help me hold her, and got the dirty deed done as quickly and easily as possible and then held three doors open for me so I could run Mia straight out of there and make her feel safe through escape. It was traumatic, but it was also as good as it could have been.

Yesterday I took her to a different location run by the same company and it was an entirely different experience. The technician started off with attitude, I assume because she had to call us twice. Um, maybe if you walked out of the room instead of just yelling down the hall? Whatever. When we walked into the room she asked if the tests were for me, which I found odd since she was holding a doctor's order listing Mia's age as 34 months and I had given her birth date at check-in. When I said no, it was Mia, she started talking about how many tests we were doing and then pointed us to the chair. I sat down with Mia in my lap and held her the best I could while the tech checked her arms, snapped at me for not pinning her legs well enough, and then tied the rubber band around Mia's left arm. Then she said she needed to get her colleague and left us sitting there. Mia was losing her shit at this point, obviously. The tech came back, took the band off of Mia's arm and said it would be a few minutes. To which I said "Are you fucking kidding me? You can't start this, get my kid all freaked out, and then say oops, never mind!" Ok, I really said "We have to wait?" and was told that we had to wait for the other tech to finish because Mia was "moving too much." And then I said "Yeah, well she's 2, what did you expect?"

After that, the tech was a little more conciliatory, as in she actually spoke to my child and helped me try to distract her. The other tech came in, we got it done, Mia screamed and cried the entire time but sucked it up fairly quickly once it was over and I produced a lollipop.

And I dunno, was I being unreasonable? Am I one of those people who get irrationally pissed off at the slightest... well... slight? (I totally am one of those people, but I'm trying not to be.) I just feel like there ought to be some consideration for the fact that this is a child, and a very young child at that, and when she has to go through something unpleasant I don't think it is unreasonable to expect people in this situation to help me limit her discomfort as much as possible. Is that more than I should expect?

Comments (51)

we had to take my 4 yo for a draw a few months agho and thankfully the location we chose was within a building that housed a pediatrician so they were very used to kids. she was very soothing, told him everything she was doing, let him hold his blankie, etc etc.

as opposed to our experience taking a 2.5 month old for a draw at the hospital, where as soon as the vial was full, the tech turned around and DROPEPD the whole damn thing- neccessitating the entire procedure being done over. i refuse to go back to that lab.

if you have the time, and if you can find it, shoot them an email (does the parent company/lab have a website?) cant hurt to let them know you were dissapointed in their service to mia and you.

No, it is absolutely NOT too much to ask for people to be a little helpful, or even just maybe a little hm, I don't know, understanding? Like you said, she's two. What two year old sits still so strangers can make them bleed? People are ridiculous. I think you had every right to get pissed, and they should have to learn how to better deal with patients who are children.

I REALLY don't understand the attitude I get from most phlebotimists (I think I TOTALLY spelled that word wrong) I've encountered over the years. Like I am IN THEIR WAY and they are ALL HUFFY over the process of me allowing them to draw blood.

But people who work with kids? Should like and understand kids. Period. Otherwise, WTF, man?

Totally NOT over-reacting. I don't appreciate when they leave the stupid band on my arm.

It really annoys me that insurance companies are forcing us to go to labs for everything now. Back when we were kids, if we needed blood drawn, someone in our pediatrician's office, you know people who are used to CHILDREN did it.

Now it's any bruiser they picked up down at the bus station, and annoying second trip to boot, especially if you have to take time off work (and even if you don't, honestly).

No, I don't think you're one of those people. I don't have kids and I would have understood the importance of acting quickly and efficiently.

We're currently switching peds because your recent experience is sort of the standard at our current place. Not horrible, just not especially helpful/friendly/understanding/warm. I thought I was expecting too much but after talking to friends who LOVED their pediatrician and whose kids LOVED their pediatrician I've decided to try a new place. Hope the results of the blood test come back okay :)

That's horrible. Really, if they don't realize that different behavior will get different results, then they have a fucking problem. I'm very protective of kids, but this seems out of line.

BTW, I've only gone to a lab like that once, and it was a couple of months ago. I asked the lady, who was being very kind to me and we were smiling a lot, whether or not she liked her job. "No, not even a little bit." she said. She was going to school so she could get out of that job as quickly as possible.

The only advice I can give is to treat people who work in shitty jobs with a lot of smiles and helpful information.

Some labs have special pediatric blood drawers who work especially well with kids, and I think that's so important -- to be gentle, reassuring, empathetic. I don't think you are unreasonable at all to expect that.

At one of the hospitals I get my blood drawn, they have a special all peds lab, and I sometimes "accidentally" go there and ask to have blood drawn because they are so much nicer and they use needles that don't rupture my veins (my veins are super tiny). They always take me in. Gotta love 'em. :-)

totally unacceptable! attitude makes such a difference in a terrifying situation. and especially when a small child is involved. sorry to you mia and you.

totally unacceptable! attitude makes such a difference in a terrifying situation. and especially when a small child is involved. sorry to mia and you.

I think a lot of people in that field, all medical fields actually, frequently get jaded beyond civility. I don't care if you've seen 40 thousand toddlers and they all screamed just the same. If you don't have the skills to not become an ass in your line of work, get a different job. I have no patience with that shit. I'll totally stand on that soap box with you any day. In fact, I don't think I could have been as polite as you were. Nicely done. Nothing common about sense or courtesy anymore.

As a former child patient, I remember having work done at 'adult' labs and then at Children's Hospital. There is a reason I still go to Children's for my cardiology at 37...they understand how to treat patients...the little and the big ones. I don't ever remember having to wait when needles were involved, and I had a lot of needles in my childhood. I definitely would find another lab for next time, if there is a next time.

ummmm...yes they need to get their act together and I feel the same way when it involves my kids. That is a very stressful situation for everyone, and they need to handle it better. I actually feel that way when i get my blood drawn too. I don't want some newbie trying to poke and find my vein, practice on someone else, please!

That's horrible patient care. I'd report it. I understand that everyone has an off day but don't take it out on other people, especially not two-year-olds (and seriously, how could ANYONE be so mean to MIA??). Argh.

I think you would have a hard time finding someone who reads your blog to disagree.

What a bitch. I think I might have "accidentally" slammed my foot into her crotch.

I agree with moo; far more phlebotomists than other kinds of medical techs seem to be unusually bitter.

Even if the first tech didn't have enough courtesy to be kind to Mia, she should have had enough brains to realize that toddlers can't be handled the same way that adults are, and attempting otherwise will lead to heartbreak for everybody.

I think you should have actually voiced your internal monologue.

Our son has weekly blood counts for his Leukemia and it never gets any easier. The staff at his hospital have done nothing but make the experience as easy as possible on him. We've got it down to a science from experience. However, they were courteous since day one. I wouldn't have expected anything else...and neither should you no matter what the situation is.

I've had that job and it's inexcusable on their part. You're not being unreasonable. Patient care includes the whole experience and kids get special treatment in my view.

I'm sorry they sucked so royally at their jobs.

Hope it was a big lollipop.

Not unreasonable in the least (and I promise I'm not just saying that because I would always side with you in a case like this). I know plenty of ADULTS who can't deal with a blood draw, and those lab techs need to have some level of sensitivity, PERIOD. When you're dealing with children, it's completely out of line to be so aloof and inconsiderate. Lady gets freaked out when she gets WEIGHED and that's completely non-invasive.

Boo hiss.

I don't understand rude healthcare "professionals." You are supposed to HELP people!! If you dislike people so much, perhaps you should be in a different line of work.

I used to work at a mall and pierce the ears of multiple kids under 5 everyday. Earring posts are thicker and not nearly as sharp as needles -and you have to get them twice!

I often spent multiple hours with kids and their parents trying to convince them they needed the second earring or their head would look silly, and then I'd never have to do it again, cause they'd last forever!

The worst was babies - you can get one ear while they're asleep...but they wake up quick. We had lollipops too, and often had parents pay first for young kids and when we were able to, we did both ears at once. We also had a teddy bear and we'd often show kids that it didn't hurt by piercing the teddy bear's ear.

It's not too hard to distract children or get them through the tough things like this. It doesn't take that much effort, and it seems like basic human courtesy, grumpy or not. Sheesh. Is this Kaiser, by any chance? They are notorious in my book for being a huge bunch of douchebags.

I am really happy you said that thing about what do they expect from a 2-year-old. And I think it's clear it was the right and reasonable thing to say, since it made the tech actually change her attitude. Good work, brave girl!

No you are not. I refuse to ever go back to the hospital in my 'little' town and will drive the 20 to 30 minutes to get to the 'city' and the children's hospital that is there. It is awful and horrible enough without someone being an a$$ about it.

My best friend use to work in our pediatricians office and it was the best because she was always our tech. She checked us in, gave the shots and of coarse she gave us the best care. She recently moved out of state and I've just recently had to deal with the same type of people that you have mentioned. And yeah, it's exactly like we're intruding on their time. TWF, we pay them good money, we should get what we deserve and that's respect to us and especially our kids. I don't think you were unreasonable at all.

Mean People Suck, seriously, this is a little girl that tech needs to get some patience and put the human aspect into play.

Mia is a brave girl and Mommy was armed with a lollipop - WTG!

I complain loudly and longly to anyone who asks about our first blood draw with Sabrina. She was a year old and the woman was cold and mean. We had to wait over an hour just to have blood drawn so Sabrina was already annoyed (as was I) and then the woman never said a word to Sabrina. Never soothed her (or me who started crying shortly after Sabrina did), never said "almost done", or "just a quick sting". Just told me to hold her down and jabbed a needle in my screaming child's arm. My doctor wanted me to go back 6 months later and have it done again. I told him I would never take her back there so unless he had another lab, she wouldn't be getting any more lab work done.
P.S. This lab was IN a CHILDREN'S hospital.

I'm appalled FOR YOU just after reading that. You totally did not overreact!

our hospital is a "teaching hospital," which means that some doctors think they have the right to put children through repeated unnecessary exams for educational purposes, with little to no regard to the child's trauma.

i once told a doctor, no, you cannot hold my screaming child down a third time to show a student that she missed an infected eardrum. he responded with an absolute tirade, yelling at me not to ever come back there again.

i wrote a letter of complaint to the doctor, the CEO of the hospital, the dean of the medical college, the president of the college, the nurse manager of the facility, and the regular pediatrician. i received numerous phone calls and a formal letter of apology from the doctor.

stick up for your kid. no one else will.

No, not unreasonable at all. It's scary and the best healthcare workers are those who understand this and help make the process as easy as possible for the kids and their parents.

In college, I worked as a registrar in an outpatient lab which did blood draws - and often got called in to assist in holding squirmy kids... I would hold their arms straight while their parents held them. Sounds like the phlebotomist you dealt with was bitchy - the exact type of person you want coming at your kid with a needle (NOT). I'm sorry you guys had that experience... That blows. I hope that Mia is a-okay and that whatever the tests were for finds her doing dandy.

I think you deserved respect and the tech needed to understand that kids are afraid and should have accommodated Mia. I'm not sure I would have let her prick my kids. I think I might have requested a new nurse or tech.

Ugh - this so reminds me of the time we actually took Zoe to the ER. She'd had a fever of 103+ for 3 days and we just couldn't wait until Monday. Aren't ERs supposed to operate under a triage protocol? Honest to goodness, there was not a single patient in that waiting room with nothing more than a run-of-the-mill illness (testament to the lack of convenient/urgent care centers in our area?), all adults. There we sat, with a very feverish, un-slept, hungry 18 month old. For 3 hours. With about 50 other people in the ER waiting area. I truly would have expected that the age of the child and her fever would have created a priority. We're *never* doing that again.

I take that back - we're calling our on-call pediatrician first, so s/he can call ahead. Apparently, that's the secret.

Which leads me to the time we called the doctor's service and got lip from the woman who took our call. She would not call the on-call ped because it wasn't an "emergency". All we wanted to know was if we should wait or take her to the ER/urgent care. Grr.

So, I don't think you're unreasonable.

Forgive the slightly long comment, but this totally brought back a memory for me.

When I was around 9 or 10, I had to have some blood drawn for a test. I don't remember why. Anyway, I asked the nurse if it was going to hurt. Logical question, no? She looked at me in horror, yelled to her colleague and said something along the lines of, "Get in here!"

Now, I used to weigh about 10-15 pounds less than the average for my age, and add to that information the fact that I hadn't moved at all in my chair. I had just asked the question about pain.

Her 300+ pound colleague lumbered in and my nurse told her I was going to "be a problem" and instructed the 300+ nurse to SIT ON ME while she drew the blood.

To this day, I can't stand having blood drawn. Gee, I wonder why.

Completely inexcusable behaviour on her part. No professional should display that kind of an attitude to anyone, much less a 2-year-old. Moreover, when dealing with someone so young, I'd think she'd be conscious of the fact that she could be shaping Mia's experience with/perspective of medical procedures for the REST OF HER LIFE. That's an awesome responsibility. I wish she (and others described in some of the horrifying anecdotes in the comments above) had risen to the occasion.

Would you feel comfortable, going forward, in laying out some ground rules before Mia or Owen are ever put in the same room as a needle? I'm not a parent, so I don't know if this would work, but I'd be tempted to insist, with a smile and a pithy reference to a lesson learned from previous experience, that at least two technicians be ready and on hand before one of your children is even brought in. And if they give you attitude? Call them on it right then.

Some people are just assholes. Excuse my language. When my husband was getting bloodwork, we asked if they'd be able to do a draw on my son who was just over a year at the time and needed allergy testing. I had his script with me. The phlebotomist looked over at him and said, "Do you have his SS card?" No so no blood. When I set up the appointment and came with his card the phleb. on duty said, "We don't take the SS# of little ones" when I protested and explained about last time she said "Sounds like someone just didn't want to do it." This lady was the sweetest woman, and she and her coworker tried to distract my son, were quick, gentle, and when they were through the one even kissed him on the head. This was from a blood draw chain and I've heard horror stories from other locations so I'll continue to take him there. It seems like some people need training in how to deal with kids.

How did you NOT drop any F-bombs? I would have been F-bombing the fuck out of that first bitch. Ok. Well. I say that. But in your shoes? I dunno. But hell to the yeah, I would have been pissed!

I have to take my daughter in for a lead test soon. I soooo dread it. If you get a chance, swing by my blog. Come by and see my latest photo!

No, I don't think it's unreasonable, but it sounds like she figured out that she was out of line and tried to fix it, which is pretty much the best you can hope for in such circumstances. Not that is makes your day any easier....

If people that are supposedly professionals can't show some compassion for a small child, then there is really something wrong with them. You aren't being unreasonable, just a caring mother.

pardon my language but they were totally being aholes. I would formerly complain if I were u

Another form of incompetence, for which I have no tolerance.

I think their behavior was inexcusable. Anyone on that job should know that the process is anxiety producing for a lot of adults, let alone small children, and should be trained to deal with it accordingly. If they are not willing to do so, they should get the heck out of the lab.

Not that I have a strong opinion on this, or anything.

I think you're right here. What they did to you guys was pretty awful.

My son has lab work done every-other-month, and we always make sure that on the day we're going, we make sure that the pediatric phlebotomist will be there. I can tell you that even though he has frequent labs done, he does not scream and kick any less!

You're not unreasonable in your expectations. The phlebotomists are SUPPOSED to be trained to deal with pediatric patients - but they don't always remember it.

Good job distracting with a lollipop! Those are ALWAYS a good choice! My other suggestion is this: my son is obsessed with stickers. So I always make sure to bring some of his favorites, and give them to the phlebotomist on the sly to give to him afterwards. These are special stickers that only come out for the lab draws.

Poor Mia!

Our son is a "medical" kid and gets his labs drawn at least once a month - sometimes more frequently. We've been fortunate to have wonderful lab techs - until we moved and went to a "lab place". We had a similar experience to what you had.

So, we mvoed his labs to a Children's Hospital. The nurses / techs are used to dealing with kids, they get things done quickly, and are very good to "reward" the kids afterwards. Stickers - popsicles - and even cool bandaids. I highly recommend doing labs at the hospital if possible with your insurance.

I had a similar situation happen two weeks in a row once when a nurse complained she couldn't immunize my then 2 year old , because she 'wouldn't be still'. And seriously, the lady just held the syringe and needle right in her face for 5 minutes. Why would she be still? I wouldn't. Finally, when I came back for the third time, I requested a new nurse, and it was done in seconds.

I work for a pretty gigantic medical lab... #1 in the nation. I hate my job, but would love to know if it was this company... your right that shouldn't occur and that shouldn't happen to a child for sure, but to anyone at all. If it was my child, I would have lost my mind!!!

Sorry you guys had to go through this...

Because my oldest had to have 4 surgeries when she was two, I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. In fact, if any of the kids need blood taken I insist on going to a pediatric place. I even look around before I commit to it to find out if there is a better choice. They are just so much more understanding, and if your kid is just in a "shit losing mood" they get it.

I also use candy after. Mary Poppins was right with that spoon full of sugar stuff.

Since everybody else is using this term: incompetent assholes! The lollipop is a great idea!

It is not at ALL unreasonable.

I'm a mother AND a medic. While I was home on leave, my daughter (almost 13) had to have some blood drawn. It was the first experience she'd really had with it. When I saw the attitude on the lab tech, I produced my credentials and said "I'll get it, thanks".

I've had to draw and poke a lot of kids over here. It's tough because they are malnourished and their veins can be hard to find. Which is why I've worked extra hard and figuring out how to make it as quick and painless as possible.

I've also gotten very creative in how to distract them and avoid their exposure to the "here comes the needle" as much as possible.

I'm sorry Mia had to go through that and I'm really sorry that you did. You'll probably remember it for a lot longer than she does.

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