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testing worry


Hello all

I tested recently as a general annual sexual health check-up, even though i haven't really done anything to warrant testing specifically (poor me) and visited a private clinic in London.

The nurse attached a needle to the vacutainer holder, and then tried for my usually great blood-giving vein. After a bit of wriggling around, and a tiny pathetic spurt of blood into the tube, she removed the needle. While checking my veins (for a better one), I did not see what she was doing, but she said she had removed one needle and replaced it with another. The second attempt was more painful and left an almost immediate dark bruise at the test site, but was quickly successful at filing the tube.

Firstly I thought once a needle was attached the whole unit should be disposed of? Is it not risky for her to remove just the needle? Does such a mechanism require putting the cap back on the needle to remove it? I guess, just how are needles removed from re-usable vacutainer holders?

Secondly, I worried if it was so easy to remove a needle, wouldnt it be less obvious to distinguish between if a needle was just used and removed or a brand new needle? Even when just removing a needle, is the cap never, ever replaced? and once removed, is it at all possible to re-attach them, or do needles have a passive safety mechanism?

Thirdly, and I guess this is a theoretical question, but one I would very much like answered. If, by whatever chance or human error, a contaminated needle was used on me, would the blood just pour from the needle into my veins, or considering the tube was quickly attached to the vacutainer, would any blood left in a needle, and indeed any that may have just spilt into veins, be sucked right back into the tube?

 ie - since the test was negative - if a positive contaminated needle was used, wouldnt the sample have been contaminated also?

Thanks - been looking around the site and some valuable answers. I guess in this case, someone like HIVworker could help me with the specifics

Most vacuum containers can be used may times on the same person by replacing the needle. They would never use a contaminated needle on you no matter what you think, it doesn't happen. Now in saying that there is no need to answer you questions further.

Sorry to come back but I also read on another thread that a used needle with clotted blood inside would be a reason why blood would not draw. Since the first attempt did not draw (despite choosing a vein I have used for blood tests many, many times successfully before), what reasons can there be for a failed draw and the need to change the needle?

First of all you don't need to change needles to restick. Some people prefer to change to maintain a sharper tip on the needle, which intern makes for an almost painless stick. Veins on males roll a lot which prevents a good stick which is common and the needles screw into the vacuum container. There was no risk of anything in what you have stated.


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