Friday, March 26, 2010

Cell Phone Wall of Shame - The Phlebotomist

Time for another entry on the Cell Phone Wall of Shame - and another paramedical professional, sad to say. I went to the Maccabi Health Service in Mitzpe Ramon for some standard blood work I get done twice a year. The phlebotomist was a youngish woman in a long black skirt with her head covered - an observant Israeli woman. I should have been alerted when she approached me needle in hand and ungloved. I made a half-serious gesture to ask her to put on gloves which she just shrugged off, or perhaps she just didn't understand me, since she spoke no English.

My brother, who is a doctor, tells me that not gloving is her problem, not mine, since it is she, not me, who runs the risk of infection. Still, it made me uncomfortable. While she was drawing the blood, her cell phone started ringing clamorously. I wondered if she would stop in the middle of collecting my blood to answer her damned cell phone. But no, she let it ring annoyingly through until it stopped. But immediately after drawing my blood, and while she was still filling out the work sheet on the computer, she called her caller black and started a pleasant chit-chat, no doubt more important than giving full attention to working with me and my blood.

As I was about to leave she gave me a piece of gauze to apply pressure to the crook in my elbow, but when I asked her for tape to hold it in place she indicated there was no need. I sarcastically asked her if she would wash the shirt if I got blood on it. Let me tell you - sarcasm does not work when delivered in a language the listener doesn't understand. I ran into Pam as I was walking out, she coming in to have her own blood test, and told her this story and showing her my elbow, which sure enough, had started bleeding. I went back to the phlebotomist and this time insisted on a piece of tape for the gauze, which she reluctantly gave me.

I complained about her being on the phone to the front desk and they said they'd tell the manager, but did counter with the lame excuse, "Well, she has a lot of children." Huh?

Maccabi Health Center in Mitzpe Ramon

1 comment:

  1. Great post. The lack of proper infection control is pretty disturbing. Of course you can argue that if she doesn't regularly wear gloves, it's also your problem because she may have contracted something from another patient. As always the best medical advice for those who live under socialized healthcare is never get sick.


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