Phlebotomists are a vital part of any medical team. As such, a phlebotomist’s job encompasses much more than a simple blood draw. An important part of phlebotomy related education involves learning about the ethical and legal questions associated with the field of phlebotomy. This article will provide you with a brief overview of some of the major legal issues faced by phlebotomists every day.
Every medical professional must make sure that his or her patients understand and consent to every procedure. In most instances, the patient has the right to an explanation of what medical procedure is being performed and why. If the patient is a minor, parents or guardians must provide consent on their behalf. Phlebotomists must also bear in mind that the patient has the right to refuse consent. Even if a doctor has ordered a blood draw or injection, the patient has the right to refuse it.
You may be surprised to see assault on a list of legal issues in phlebotomy. Unfortunately, they are lurking closer to the surface than you might think. If a phlebotomist threatens someone with a needle, they have committed assault. Simply put, assault is defined as making someone fear that you will use force to harm them. This can be a sensitive issue for phlebotomists because many people have a fear of needles and the pain associated to this procedure. A well-trained phlebotomist will know how to deal with patients in a safe and legal manner.
Assault simply involves causing someone to fear that bodily harm will come to them. For the crime of battery to take place, actual physical contact must occur. One issue that falls into the category of assault and battery is use of a dirty needle. Even if no excessive force is used, a dirty needle can cause life-altering harm to a patient. A phlebotomist is legally responsible for ensuring the sterility of all equipment in his or her care.
Malpractice is a term for the type of civil lawsuits that patients generally bring against medical practitioners who have failed to follow the standard of care. If a phlebotomist is facing a malpractice suit, they are not in danger of going to jail, but they may face other severe consequences. Depending on their jurisdiction and the severity of the harm caused, a jury may award the injured party a significant financial reward. Medical practitioners take out malpractice insurance so that they can safely afford to pay for the damages awarded in malpractice suits. Phlebotomists can choose to purchase their own malpractice insurance or they may be covered by their supervising physician. However, ultimate cost of a malpractice lawsuit may be the loss of a profitable career, rather than the payment of damages.
A patient has the right to know that their personal information will not be spread by the medical professionals who are in charge of their care. Blood withdrawals are often associated with testing for sensitive diseases, and phlebotomists will be privy to confidential information about many patients. They have a legal obligation to maintain their patients’ privacy.
This information has been gathered from external sources to bring you some insight on legal issues in phlebotomy. #bestpractice