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Phlebotomy: Process of Collecting Blood

June 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 179

Phlebotomy is the process of collecting blood and is defined as "the act or practice of bloodletting as a therapeutic measure." The history of bloodletting dates back to the early Egyptians and continues into modern times. It was once thought the practice would rid the body of diseases and provide a cure-all for almost all ailments. Picture a Roman gladiator bleeding and being carried off on a stretcher to receive the cure-all treatment of further bleeding. Perhaps the unfortunate result of the practice is one reason that moment in history did not last very long. In the twelfth century, barbers whose red and- white barber poles became the symbol of their trade-practiced bloodletting.

Historically, phlebotomy used three basic methods. Venesection was the most common. A sharp lancet-type instrument pierced the veins and made them bleed. Lancing the veins was thought to eliminate the "bad" blood and remove the disease from the patient. Venesection was often used to reduce fever or to produce a faint so an expectant mother would deliver her baby by the time she recovered.

In cupping, a heated glass cup was placed on a person's back. As the cup cooled, it created a suction that pulled blood to the capillaries under the cup. Then a spring-loaded box containing multiple blades cut the area to produce massive bleeding. Both Venesection and cupping produced much scarring.

A more modern method was to use leeches. It was not uncommon to apply leeches routinely to one's body with the belief it prevented disease.

Leeches still have limited uses today. When a person has a reattachment of a finger after accidental amputation for example, the arteries and veins do no return to normal blood flow immediately. The blood tends to pool in the end of the finger, causing pain and pressure. A leech is placed on the end of the finger to remove the excess blood and relieve the symptoms. The only problem is that the leeches full rapidly and has to be changed after several hours.

It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that bloodletting was no longer considered the cure-all for illnesses. The discovery of microorganisms as the causative agent for many diseases started to change the thinking of how to treat diseases.

Blood began to be examined for diagnostic purposes. Urine and feces had been examined since medieval times. The knowledge obtained from these early examinations was small compared with what we can determine today.

Bleeding of individuals to reduce the patient's amount of blood does occur today to treat a disease called polycythemia Vera. The treatment involves withdrawing 500ml of blood through therapeutic phlebotomy. But contemporary bloodletting takes a broader approach. Blood is still removed to cure the person, but it is primarily done to find the cure, not as the cure itself.

Blood co collection has changed from being therapeutic to being diagnostic. There are thousands of different types of diagnostic tests available. Phlebotomy provides accurate and precise test results so the patient can be diagnosed and treated. Bur this can only be accomplished after the phlebotomist has provided the laboratory with an accurate sample.

Phlebotomy is passionate about training. We specialise in core-competency skill training for medical practitioners, healthcare workers and those wishing to enter the medical arena with the necessary basic skills to gain new employment opportunities.

Established since 2005, we at Maxis are passionate about giving people the essential practical and theoretical experience and knowledge so they can develop new careers or develop their existing career paths. This philosophy is reflected in our training modules with phlebotomy courses which combine real life work experience with classroom education.

Source: EzineArticles
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