Most babies born in US hospitals go through the ritual of at least one heel stick. It’s absolutely necessary to rule out PKU, an inability to metabolize phenylalanine, a disease that occurs in something like 1 in 10,000 births, or at least in white folks.
Those white folks diseases get lots of attention.
At any rate, if your baby is born in a hospital, it is more than likely, and it might even be required in some places, to have a heel stick, i.e., a nurse or a phlebotomist or a med tech, I totally doubt that med techs do such things any more, things have changed, but that someone is going to get a lancelet, maybe a blue but probably a red, the reds have much longer points on them, you can really lay into a baby’s foot with a red lancet, and then they’ll squeeze that little foot until they fill all the dots on the card with blood.
The one in the picture is being done super freaking sloppily. I’d can that person, like, tomorrow. Of course I'd have canned the two who missed my veins the last two times I had blood drawn, too, but I'm kind of a bitch.
At any rate, that’s the every baby thing. If your baby has issues, at all, and it needs to have blood drawn, by the time it gets out of that spot in the nursery, its feet are liable to look like something like a really bad glass walker’s might.
Just all cut up.
Thing is, with a newborn, especially a premie, goodness, the “we need to run these thirty seven blood tests thing” means venipuncture, and if you think that’s a walk in the park I’d liken it to a walk through Death Valley in the summertime sans water, that’s the walk in the park that is, and on night shift the freaking pediatrician isn’t going to come in and do an arterial puncture, so deal with it, and as often as not I’d deal with it by telling the pediatrician that he could have these seven blood tests instead, and that was if I could find a decent vein and get the blood for them, and if he wanted all that other crap he could come in and get the blood himself.
I always was kind of a bitch.
Thing is, lots of pediatricians get that way, the cover my butt for insurance purposes outweighs that tiny little tot in the nursery, not hard at all to outweigh a four or five pounder, and some of them are drunks, those pediatricians, some butchers, some just bad at what they do.
What’s funny is that it’s not heel sticks that got me thinking about this this morning, it was a discussion of circumcision. Oh yeah, that same guy who wanted the 37 lab tests but was probably too drunk to come in and deal with the sick newborn, he botched one of those pretty badly, too.
That’s the reality of healthcare in this country. We grab new babies and jab them in the heel and bleed them, I’m not quite sure about the position of the child in this image, there is a trick to it, but we do this because 1 in 10,000 might have this condition that might or might not be controlled by diet during that person's life, there’s really no other treatment, and I guess that one wants to know such things to make those dietary decisions, for sure, but certainly, at this point in history, do we not know if our grandparents or great-grandparents or cousins or someone had PKU and do we really want to do this to all these babies for this kind of risk, if there is no history of metabolic disease of the severity of PKU in the family?
Really? Do we need to do this? Do we need to circumcise boys? How have we gotten to the place where healthcare tells us what to do? What to do to our children?
What is this Brave New World I’ve woken up in?