ZocdocAnswersCould the technician have infected my arm while drawing blood?

Question

Could the technician have infected my arm while drawing blood?

Three days ago I went to the ENT office for an ear problem, and was suggested to get my blood drawn for some tests. Now i'm afraid i created far more problems by agreeing to take those: 1. The blood work procedure room was really tiny and seemed to double up as a storage room. No sink or sanitizer bottle in place. 2. The technician already had gloves on as i came in and had needle out of the package laying on the tray 3. He never changed a new pair of gloves, and had touched a door handle, a chair and other before proceeding with the test. 4. He did swipe the injection site with alcohol wipe, BUT then proceeded to touch the site with gloved hand again. He never disinfected the site after palpating it with those questionable gloves. 5. Now three days later my injection site is red and itchy (though there is no extensive bruising) Could have the technician infected my arm? And how long should i wait before making a trip to the doctor?

Answer

This is certainly a concerning story for a number of reasons. Obviously, recent events in the news have led all of us to have some concerns about the sanity and sterility of the tools that practitioners use to take care of us. Unfortunately, part of the world that we are in today involves being an advocate for ourselves and speaking up if we have concerns. While it may be awkward, it is certainly appropriate for you to raise these same questions with the person drawing your blood while you are there. Now, to address your questions: while anything is certainly possible, the odds of transmission of an infection are very low. For the most part, it is unheard of for a physician or any healthcare worker to blatantly violate common protocol to protect patients. Additionally, even in the worst circumstances, the rates of infection are, fortunately, quite low. Surgeons, who are often stuck with needles and knives while doing surgery on infected people, are fortunately only infected in these situations in a very small number of cases. If you have concerns, and it seems that you do, it would be appropriate to speak to your doctor about your concerns to see what can be done. You may also wish to speak with the ordering provider who sent you to have that blood work done in the first place so that changes can be made.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.