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Having Blood Drawn - Adult

Why does your doctor order a blood test?
Your doctor can learn a great deal about your health from your blood test. A normal result is as important as an abnormal result. It helps your doctor diagnose diseases. You may even have abnormal results when you feel fine. This is why physicians often order lab tests as part of a physical exam.

Where can I go to have my blood drawn?
You can go to any of the WakeMed facilities to have your blood drawn for most tests. There are a few tests that are performed only at certain locations.  Click for a list of WakeMed locations and directions.

What to bring
 •The completed WakeMed Physician Order Form
 •Your insurance card and information
 •Any papers your doctor tells you to bring
 
When you arrive
When you arrive for your test, please report to the Patient Registration area.  At Patient Registration, you will be asked for information that is required for our records and insurance billing purposes. 

You will be given an armband to wear. This armband will have your name, medical record number, birth date and other hospital information. You must have this armband on in order to have your blood collected.

What will happen at the phlebotomy lab area?
You must present a written order from your physician. Orders should not be more than 30 days old. If we have questions about your orders, we will contact your doctor’s office for clarification. We want to make sure the correct tests are performed. 

We make every effort to serve people in the order they arrive, but we may need to make exceptions for emergency testing or tests that must be collected at a specific time.

Having your blood drawn
When you are called to the blood drawing area, the phlebotomist will ask your name and compare it to your armband and the computer-generated orders. It is very important that we confirm your identity.

Certain tests require that you are fasting (nothing to eat or drink for eight hours) prior to your test. You may call 350-8242 for questions about your specific test.

Tests require a certain amount of blood to be drawn into colored tubes. We can only draw tests that have been requested by your physician. Only blood necessary for testing is collected.

Where will they draw the blood?
The blood is usually collected from a site inside your elbow or on the top of the hand. A tourniquet (type of rubber band) is tied to the upper part of your arm. This may feel tight. This is to allow the veins to fill with blood.  An antiseptic such as alcohol is used to clean the site and prevent infection. A needle and tubes are used to collect the samples.  The needle is inserted into the vein, and blood is collected into the tubes.  Once the blood is collected, the needle is removed and pressure applied to the site.  The pressure will help stop any bleeding.  Most of the time, enough blood is obtained from one collection, but occasionally, a patient may require more than one puncture to obtain specimens.

Safety of having your blood drawn
Having your blood drawn will not expose you to diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis. The person collecting your blood (phlebotomist) wears gloves and uses a disposable needle. The needle and holder are thrown away after each use.

The most common complication of having your blood drawn is bruising at the site. Care should be taken to keep pressure on the site and to make sure bleeding has stopped before you leave the area.

Some people feel dizzy or light headed when having their blood drawn. Please let the phlebotomist know if you experience these symptoms or have experienced them in the past.  The phlebotomist may ask you to lie down during the blood collection.

What happens now?
Once your blood has been collected, it is labeled with computer generated labels. These labels have your name and hospital number. The phlebotomist will add the date and time of collection and their code number.  Once the blood is labeled and you have stopped bleeding, you are done with your blood test. If your doctor ordered other tests, such as urine testing, EKG or X-Rays, you will have those done as well. If you are to have no other testing, you may leave.

How do I get my results?
All laboratory results are sent to the physician requesting the tests. Regulations do not permit laboratory employees to give results to patients. Please contact your doctor for the results of your tests.