Patty Fawkes, CLS, Kaweah Delta Healthcare District and Rebecca Rosser, CLS, Kaiser Permanente Approved for 1.0 CE Level of Difficulty: Basic CAMLT is approved by the California Department of Public Health as a CA CLS Accrediting Agency (#21) Phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood. The word phlebotomy is derived from Greek: phlebo- means vein and –tomy means to make an incision. Some authorities believe phlebotomy dates back to the last period of the Stone Age when crude tools were used to puncture vessels to allow excess blood to drain out of the body. There is evidence of bloodletting in Egypt around 1400 B.C. in a painting in a tomb showing the application of a leech to a patient. Even in the Middle Ages barber surgeons flourished by performing bloodletting, wound surgery, cupping, leeching, shaving, extraction of teeth and administering of enemas. The familiar stripes on the barber pole symbolized red for blood and white for bandages. Early phlebotomy equipment consisted basically of a bleeding bowl, leech jar, cupping glass, evacuating pump and lancets called fleams. During the 17th and 18th centuries, phlebotomy was considered a major therapeutic treatment process and anyone willing to claim medical training could perform phlebotomy. The practice of phlebotomy continues today, however, principles and methods have dramatically improved. Phlebotomy now has certain characteristics that balance knowledge and theory with practical expertise.
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