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Thread: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

  1. #1

    Default Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Sorry for the weird title of this thread, but I am wondering if anyone here has used a flashlight to help locate one's veins when giving blood. Recently my wife needed to give blood at the doctor's office. They had a very difficult time and it took five attempts. When we got home I place my Photon Proton on her arm and it helped locate the vein. Next time we go we will bring the flashlight to see if it will help. I thought that I read that a pediatrician used a flashlight to help located the veins and draw blood. Has anyone else had success with this? Thanks.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    I am a medic, and there is circumstances where putting a light directly on the skin will illuminate the veins directly below the skin.. There is also tech using LED tech called a veiniscope I believe that is for this purpose..

    There is also new tech called the veinviewer that uses digital light projection and a projector to "paint" an image of veins on the skin.. to view it in action, do a search on the veinviewer via google video..

    another tip is to make sure you blood draw person is a cert phlebotomist not someone with just on the job training...

    hope this helps..

    wrote this quick.. if you have more questions, PM me...

  3. #3
    Flashaholic scubasteve1942's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    It actually is very common in pediatric ER's. The have special lights they use. One is a small plastic light with 3 or 4 red LED's. The other is a pretty big box (containing the power source etc....) with what I believe is a fiber optic cable that you hold to the skin. thats about as good as I can describe it.
    Last edited by scubasteve1942; 08-04-2007 at 11:31 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    The small plastic light scubasteve is refering to is the veini-scope s/p? they have an adult model that is self contained and a pediatric model that is fed by cable.. most Emergency dept at the very least have one of the two.. at least up here in AK..
    I thought about your question, and have actually used my surefire L4 to find a vein on an obese patient..
    With the lights off, press the head of light directly on skin, making sure to seal out any spill, then u usually can run the light up and down the arm and see the opaque veins this way.. On peds, or on someone who is skinny, you can sometimes shine a bright light through the hand and acheive the same results...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Thanks for the information. I will definitely bring a flashlight next time. Maybe I will buy a flashlight for my wife.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpdogs View Post
    Thanks for the information. I will definitely bring a flashlight next time. Maybe I will buy a flashlight for my wife.
    Both good ideas.... But I find your opening post a bit troubling.

    I used to work with a former medical assistant. According to her, those who are supposed to take blood from patients or donors need to feel for the vein. Instead of looking for it.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    I have worked as a phlebotomist(who's only job is to do vein punctures) and do IV starts regularly.. it is best to see AND feel the vein.. if you cant see it, but feel it, that will work too , but its harder..
    Medical companys have made these products for a reason.. because they are needed.. I have used the veiniscope, and it does "light up" the vein, you cant always feel them..

    I do consider myself an expert in this subject with over 10 years in the field..

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    I've also tried lights to look for veins in the field. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And I've tried a M6 too but didn't really penetrate as much as I liked. They didn't like the heat so I stopped looking.

    5 times? Ouch...
    They also have another tool, a ultrasound machine which you can see on a LCD screen to located the vein. Usually in the ER.

    I haven't really noticed between LED or incandescent lights making a difference in giving a visual.
    Looking for a Z52 tailcap LOTC with witness marker on the edge where it meets the body. I prefer email over PM, por favor.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    If you medical folks on the forum have not seen the veinveiwer in action, you should google video the word "veinveiwer".. its the newest thing on the market, and pretty friggin cool lookin!

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* MorpheusT1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Veinveiwer






  11. #11

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    strong work Morpheus!!

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Brozneo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    I volunteer as a medic for my local Ambulance service, I find that I can't find veins if the light is too bright - especially cause I work at night mostly... So I find the A2's LED's perfect for the task of finding them, but I use them more to find veins 'bumping' through the skin which are hard to see under normal conditions.

    PS. What type of light does the vein finder thing use? Wouldn't mind a handheld version!
    BROZNEO

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Tim W's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Quote Originally Posted by big_erb View Post
    I have worked as a phlebotomist
    .. it is best to see AND feel the vein...
    if you cant see it, but feel it, that will work too, but its harder


    I do consider myself an expert in this subject with over 10 years in the field..
    Weren't a very good one, were you?

    I'm a retired Medical Technologist ( a generalist, on nights, so I drew all my own samples.), and ALL you need to do is be able to feel them if you know what you are doing (in regards to basically all but infants - THAT'S a whole different can of worms!).

    SEEING IT ONLY HELPS LOCATE IT. YOU MUST FEEL IT TO DO IT PROPERLY. If you don't have a fine tuned sense of feel, you cannot tell when the needle penetrates into the lumen and stop. This leads to useless hemolyzed samples and bruised patients as you ram the needle through BOTH sides of the vein. This applies both to venipuncture and IV starts (which I was also very experienced at).


    Tim Wilson, MT(ASCP)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Werent? You mean arent..
    I still work in the medical field, as a critical care flight paramedic.. I do understand how to find and properly perform a venipuncture.. I dont fish, or blow through veins. I only made the statement about visualizing the vein with a veiwer, or just light, because there ARE circumstances where you cannot feel them.. I have been in these positions.. An obese patient had NO palpable veins, but, with a light I was able to successfully start and 18g IV..
    I dont see the need for personal attacks?! or for perverbial peeing contests on who has the most medical experience.. there will always be someone better, AND someone worse than you, or me.. I write statements out of experience, to try to help someone, not argue....

    Next can we talk about the proper techniques for inserting a chest tube?... lol

    To each there own, no harm no foul..

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Lunal_Tic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Had surgery a while back and the anesthesiologist turned me into a pin cushion before surgery. After going after the right arm thumping and stabbing and then giving up he went to my left and finally got it after 4-5 shots. It got so bad my Mom had to leave. Both arms hurt worse than where I ended up getting surgery. It would be nice to have a little light to take in when you know you're going to get poked.

    -LT
    lunal tic (n)
    a distinctive behavioral trait or quirk directly related to or caused by light [15th cent. Latin lunaris. Ultimately from an IE word meaning “light,”] and [Early 19th cent. Italian ticchio.] see also: moon quirk

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Nice, measured response big erb well done.
    In my experience none of the LED lights available is a big step forward over a decent broad spectrum incan. Not necessarily worse, just not better. The veniviwer looks like a great innovation- smaller and cheaper will be cool.
    BTW I'll race any of you techs: your prepped-to-access time peripherally vs my prepped-to-access time in a central vein!!!
    Kind Regards

    David

  17. #17

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    ICUDoc,
    Didnt I tell you? I have adopted the lawn-dart I.V. start technique!! lol
    I wouldn't doubt it! I have met some very skilled ICU docs!

    Brozneo, Heres the light info..

    The VeinViewer by Luminetx™ utilizes near infrared light and patented technologies to illuminate subcutaneous vasculature by imaging their location on the surface of the skin. VeinViewer is a mobile biomedical device consisting of the following four components:


    1. Infrared light source - The light source emits a harmless, near-infrared light reflected back to the surface from the tissue surrounding the vein, while no light is reflected back from the blood inside the vessel.
    2. Digital video camera - The digital video camera captures the near-infrared light reflected back from the patient.
    3. Image processing unit - The microprocessor adds contrast and projects this image back on the skin in their actual location.
    4. Digital image projector - Using Texas Instruments Digital Light Processing™ technology, the projector displays these real-time images of the vasculature onto the surface of the skin. s

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Veinviewer would have been useful for me back in the winter of 1967. I'm a former Army med lab tech. We were on winter maneuvers in Alaska with tents and huts set up in the freezing boonies. There was one particular dude needing a blood draw who had no "tangible" or visible vein in his forearm. One of the docs decided to draw from the top of his hand and as he did this, the patient fainted and I had to grab him to prevent him from falling on the floor.

    Alas, technology arrived too late for us.
    Last edited by Uncle Bob; 08-07-2007 at 10:48 AM. Reason: spelling error

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Tim W's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Quote Originally Posted by ICUDoc View Post
    BTW I'll race any of you techs: your prepped-to-access time peripherally vs my prepped-to-access time in a central vein!!!

    NO FAIR!! You're giving yourself a bigger target!!

    big_erb: Apologies. Yes, I'll concede that in the kind of patients you're likely to see as a flight paramedic you may well need all/any help you can get. My comments were geared towards those in a clinical and/or outpatient setting (and for what its worth, not towards phlebotomists in general as I worked with several that I trusted and several MT's who I wouldn't have let with-in 10' of me if they had a needle in hand).

    Tim W

  20. #20
    Flashaholic Bogie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    I Use a Red Led (SF L1) placed directly on the skin if needed works great
    SF 6P/G2/E2e/E2d/E2DL/E1e/L2/A2-PP(R)/A2(G)/L1(R)/L1(G)/M95/KL4(x2)/KL4(Blk)
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    When i give blood, i look like a junkie for 5 minutes, i am going to get that vein sticking up so high and so full and beloted they cant possibly miss.
    no more training on my vein i might need it i hate needles and bad aims. i dont care if you need a Ultra stinger :-) to light things
    Last edited by VidPro; 08-09-2007 at 10:24 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Using a flashlight to help draw blood

    Tim, No biggie what so ever bro!
    I think the general Professional medical opinion for the thread question is, that a seasoned vascular tech is more of an asset than any device.. lights and viewers DO help, but, there is NO subsitute for experience.. bottom line!

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