WHO guidelines on drawing blood: best practices in phlebotomy
Best practice, Training
Phlebotomy uses large, hollow needles to remove blood specimens for lab testing or blood donation. Each step in the process carries risks - both for patients and health workers. Patients may be bruised. Health workers may receive needle-stick injuries. Both can become infected with bloodborne organisms such as hepatitis B, HIV, syphilis or malaria. Moreover, each step affects the quality of the specimen and the diagnosis. A contaminated specimen will produce a misdiagnosis. Clerical errors can prove fatal. The new WHO guidelines provide recommended steps for safe phlebotomy and reiterate accepted principles for drawing, collecting blood and transporting blood to laboratories/blood banks.