So where did we get the idea to draw blood? What exactly is the history of phlebotomy?
Well, we can trace its roots back to the time of ancient Egyptian and Greek communities. The actual practice of drawing blood during those times seemed barbaric as compared to the modern practices introduced by Western medical practices. During those times, both the Egyptians and Greeks perform the process of drawing blood with the purpose of eradicating evil spirits and to draw away illnesses from patients.
The red and white striped sign representing Phlebotomy originated back in the 5th century B.C which represents blood and a tourniquet. The early practices of bloodletting were also barbaric in nature. During the days of the pilgrims in the U.S, spring loaded lancets were used in drawing pints of blood, transferring them to unsanitary bowls. Those bloodletting practices were not regulated and were performed until the patient fainted. They believe that if the patient did not die, they were already cured from their illness.
Eventually, the practices in bloodletting began to evolve, not just in the United States, but also around the world. This came with the introduction of modern practices in the field of medical technology. Also, there were some incidents that caused the people to realize that the former practices were not safe at all. One instance happened when George Washington died after nine pints of blood were drained from his body supposedly to solve a throat infection.
Other similar instances also happened, and people began to doubt whether the practice was safe or not. After more than a century, the traditional bloodletting practice eventually died out. The practice of safe blood extraction began to emerge. Nowadays, medical professionals employ the use of different strategies in drawing blood from a patient. Also, they use sterile tools and equipment, such as fine needles in order to perform the process of drawing blood. Gone are the days when the process is performed to get rid of evil spirits. Nowadays, bloodletting is performed occasionally to cure rare illnesses such as polycythemia and hemachromatosis. Phlebotomists also draw blood for storing in blood banks for later use during surgical and emergency procedures. It is also known to be therapeutic. (Read: The Top 10 Benefits of Therapeutic Phlebotomy)
Modern phlebotomy is considered a practice that is only handled and performed by qualified, trained, and certified experts and medical professionals. Before becoming one, an individual who wants to become a phlebotomists need to complete either of the following: a course, a certificate program, and an accredited degree in order to pass a certain professional certification and licensing exam.
Nowadays, modern phlebotomy is performed not just anywhere, but only in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinic, or a medical laboratory. Unlike the barbaric procedures of the past, the modern methods include practices that are safe, clean and sterile. Thus, patients are freed from worry regarding the entire process. Some individuals may still feel hesitant of the procedure because there is a connotation that a prick hurts. However, it is just a relief that the pain goes away in a second, and it does not kill you.