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The following story is fictional and should not be interpreted as reflective of any actual case:
My girlfriend and I had been having a smoke after our “extended” lunch break. Hopefully the boss wouldn’t notice that we were coming off lunch break late once again. So, just as I was about to finish telling my joke, my stupid pager went off and the news wasn’t good. I was supposed to have been at the police station 15 minutes ago to draw blood on another one of those DUI cases and I knew that officer would be pissed for making him late again. Well, so much for my long lunch hour.
I went flying down the road towards the downtown police station and wasted no time getting to the booking area where I knew the guy would be getting processed. When I walked into the holding cell, I was greeted by the familiar and unmistakable aroma of jail funk. When you do the kind of work that I do, you get real familiar with the dingy insides of a jail cell. It was poorly lit and the little counter top where they brought the food through the bars still had spaghetti sauce on it from the lunch tray – at least I hope it was some kind of food and not human body fluid of some bloody origin because I do this work knowing it has its risks and it’s pretty hard to get HIV from spaghetti sauce. Plus that was the only area where I could set up my phlebotomy tray.
I thought everything was going to go smoothly, but when I opened up my tray, I realized that in my rush to get there, I’d managed to forget my special non-alcohol skin swabs. Luckily, I found some old alcohol swabs in a corner of the tray. So, I figured the cop wouldn’t check and I’d just do my thing and act like everything was normal because I knew that if my boss found out about how things were going today, I’d be looking for a new job in no time flat.
That’s when I first heard the yelling and screaming down the hall and here come the cops with their guy. The guy’s struggling against his handcuffs and yelling at the cops who are obviously pissed off. I was able to get out of the way just in time when they slammed him down on the floor of the jail cell where he narrowly missed smacking his head on the toilet bowl in the corner of the cell. Oh boy – this was gonna be an “interesting” one!
They get this guy situated on the floor and somewhat quiet and the cop looks at me and says, “OK, you can do the blood draw now,” and I look at him with this look on my face like, “you have got to be kidding me!” But no, he isn’t kidding. So, here I am in this dimly lit jail cell, the guy’s on the floor with the cuffs behind his back and he’s sitting about two feet from the toilet, and I’m thinking, “man, if I don’t get this stick, the cop’s going to complain to my boss and that’ll be the end of my long lunch hours.” And with this in mind, I swabbed the guy’s arm as best I could and stuck the needle in; boy was that a mistake. I had been so focused on getting the needle in, I forgot to warn him and he let out a scream that made the cats in the alley jump and run. Then the guy starts struggling and the next thing I know, my blood tubing is hanging from the needle that’s still stuck in the guy’s arm while the cops are trying to subdue him. By picking the right moment, I was able to pull the needle out before it could do anymore damage, and quickly tape a cotton ball over the puncture site. Luckily, I was finally able to get the blood samples out of the other arm, but boy, was I nervous being in that cell with this guy. Man, I just dumped the blood vials in to my tray, packed up my gear, and got the heck out of there as fast as I could.
This month’s criminal topic is DUI Blood Draws. Topics covered are:
- Why “Medically Approved” is important (9/5/14)
- Case Scenario (8/12/14)
- A review of the issues relating to prep (8/19/14)
- Legal Implications (8/26/14)
Note: To see all posts in this topic, click here