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Phlebotomy refers to the removal of blood from the body through puncture with a needle. The word comes from the Greek term, phlebo-, which translates to “a blood vessel.” Drawing blood is the method leading to analysis and reporting of conditions affecting the body.

What is Phlebotomy

The diagnosis of certain blood diseases or body inefficiencies depends upon the accuracy of a phlebotomist. Without consistent intake, certain vitamins and minerals can reach very low levels and need supplementation. Many unusual symptoms will dissipate upon the identification and treatment after a blood draw.

Phlebotomy is a necessary step in blood donation as well as the identification and treatment of some diseases or deficiencies. The amount of the blood draw varies widely and depends upon the reason for the testing. A high level of accuracy is one requirement of a practicing phlebotomist.

What They Did

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were phlebotomy practitioners, although they did not use it for scientific purposes. It was a “cleansing” technique to rid the body of evil spirits or sicknesses. Draining blood was one way to bring health to the body and the tool of choice was the lancet.

“Bloodletting” came to the United States sometime during the 18th century. Draining one to four pints of blood from the patient was the norm and often this would lead to feelings of faintness. At times, this procedure was fatal, which caused the practice to fall from science to quackery.

How They Do It

Phlebotomy in the modern day is, once again, a science requiring formal education at a school that offers courses or a certificate in phlebotomy. Regulations allow these procedures to occur only in a hospital, a medical clinic or the office of a medical doctor. This is significantly different from the practices in place 2,500 years ago!

Back in the 5th century B.C. this procedure would require a trip to the barber shop where you might also get a haircut or a tooth extraction. With the common use of rudimentary tools and amateur talent, this procedure had its drawbacks. Today, a blood drawer uses sanitary equipment and modern procedures to ensure patient safety.

Training and Certification

It is necessary to find an accredited school with classes in the practice of phlebotomy in order to receive the certification to work in this field. Good training will make the student very employable as a practicing phlebotomist. This is a growing field and a wonderful job option for individuals around the globe.

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