Medical Malpractice During Blood Tests

Are you afraid of needles? If you are, you probably avoid donating blood and hate the idea of ever getting a tattoo. But one thing that you can’t always avoid is bloodwork!

The Basics of Blood Tests

Bloodwork or blood tests are a common, simple way for doctors to check up on a patient’s health. Like an x-ray or urine test, blood tests give doctors a look into the human body. Bloodwork detects health conditions like anemia, HIV/AIDS, and coronary heart disease. It can also give insights into how well organs like the heart, kidneys, and thyroid are performing.

Bloodwork is usually done by a phlebotomist, someone who is trained to draw blood. During a blood test, the phlebotomist or other professional inserts a needle into a vein, usually in the patient’s arm. They attach a small test tube to the needle, which holds the blood. If multiple blood tests are performed, there might be more than one tube. When the tube is full, it seals on its own and the phlebotomist safely removes the needle. The amount of blood removed during a routine test is between 1 to ten milliliters, or about 1 to 3 teaspoons.

Potential Complications

Most people experience a slight sting during the insertion and removal of the needle. They might experience bleeding, tenderness, or bruising. Many people also feel lightheaded or weak afterwards. All of these issues are relatively normal after bloodwork.

That said, medical malpractice can still occur during blood testing. While the vast majority of blood tests go smoothly, there are many complications that can arise from negligence or dangerous behavior, including:

  • Injuries from improper needle insertion or removal
  • Infections from contaminated needles or improper procedures
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Vein damage

While the list of things that could go physically wrong during a blood test is scary, most issues of medical malpractice that arise from bloodwork concern the results themselves, not the actual drawing of the blood. During the testing phase of bloodwork, issues may arise if:

  • The patient does not receive their results in a timely fashion, or does not receive them at all
  • There is a misreading of the results
  • The results of the tests are not properly communicated to the patient

The Impact of Blood Test Malpractice

Since bloodwork often detects health conditions, an error can have a bigger impact than you might think. For example, if an increased risk of a heart attack shows up in the tests but that information is never conveyed to the patient, they cannot do anything to improve their health. Or if the results from a patient’s bloodwork are misread as anemia when it is actually cancer, the patient might experience a critical delay in treatment. Issues like these fall under the realm of failure to diagnose. This type of  medical malpractice is just as serious as medical errors that cause immediate harm.

Many people have bloodwork done dozens of times through their lives without any complication or injuries, but these issues of medical malpractice are still something to keep in mind next time you head to the phlebotomist. By knowing what to expect and understanding the standard of care that you are owed, you can get through the process, even if you are afraid of needles!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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