Injection safety

WHO guidelines on drawing blood: best practices in phlebotomy

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Authors:
World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 125
Publication date: 2010
Languages: English
ISBN: 978 92 4 159922 1

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Overview

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.

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