Idea Exchange: A cool way to get a blood sample from unruly patients

May 01, 2010
By staff

When we need a blood sample from a patient that is difficult to restrain, we have good results by briefly numbing the skin before venipuncture. If we have 20 to 30 minutes to allow the medication to work, we inject 0.1 ml of 2% lidocaine near the vein, and note the site with a marker. Or if the fur is clipped, we apply topical anesthetic cream (EMLA). But if we are in a hurry, a quick and effective method of numbing the skin is wrapping an ice cube in a damp paper towel and holding it against the skin for about two minutes.

Dr. Bill B. Moore
Boca Raton, Fla.