Has anyone had to have a second blood test because they didn't draw enough blood the first time?

The receptionist has just rung to tell me there wasn't enough blood for my tsh/t3 test and I need to have it done again. They have a really excellent phlebotomist and this appointment went smoothly as usual. I can't figure it out.

Do they need more blood for the t3 test? I remember her computer was slow, so she finished and she said I could go and it was just taking some time to print the label out.

After angling for the t3 test for months (last time the lab refused it but I'm on t3 now, so I asked the gp to specify that), speaking to the gp about it multiple times, double-checking that it had been ordered correctly, etc, I'm a little unhappy.

16 Replies

  • I had to go back for another test because there was a problem printing the label, they were quite honest about it being their fault , the phlebotomist was working in a different room and the printer was in a different position and she hadn't noticed there was a printing problem. I'm sure she said when I went back they had had to contact the hospital about doing it over again.

    Even though T3 was on my list to be tested in those days it was never done. Now it doesn't go n the list!

    Sounds like you could be right and it is a label problem.

    Liz x

  • Thanks Liz. You know, if I felt they were being up front about it it wouldn't be a problem. After all, everyone makes mistakes, and I have the utmost respect for the phlebotomist, who is absolutely brilliant, the only person who never bruises me. But I don't have a lot of confidence in them at the surgery so my first reaction is that they've done it again.

  • Hi I have had T3. Tested twice and each time they took 2 vials of blood. Separate one for T3 testing I was told. When TSH and T4 only 1 vial was taken.

  • Interesting. I wonder if that's what it was. I reminded the gp about the t3 test and she didn't put it on the test, so I rang back and reminded her again, then rang the day before to confirm that the form was filled out correctly and then asked the phlebotomist on the day if the form was filled out correctly, so there really should be no excuses for getting it wrong. Infuriating.

  • I notice on the forms I have for my next endo appointment - sometime in March - anyway, I have the forms here already and beside each test it tells the person doing the bloods what colour of tube to use etc.

    Last time my T4 and TSH shared the same tube but in the past - like when the form had T3 on it (which was never done!!!) and when other things were tested she filled several tubes. Next time it looks like a few tubes - still no mention of T3 though.

    Liz x

  • I had to go back after mine was accidently dropped. and another time they said they needed another one as they just hadn't go enough. sometimes its just the vein they get it from is too small or strained to get enough out. its been fine both times I've been asked back. sometimes they just forget to check something and so ask for another sample but I would worry too much. hope all goes well

  • I'm not worried; I'm angry. :-)

    For me it's not fine, but the situation is complicated by the fact that they keep buggering up other stuff and that I needed to ask and remind them repeatedly about the t3 test even though I'm actually taking t3. And despite all the double-checking I'm not confident I'll even get the t3 test done as they have asked for it before and it was refused. Of course if I thought any other local gp was any better I would be seeing them instead.

  • Thanks all. x

  • Well if anyone is still reading :-) I just returned from the surgery. I waited almost an hour because the phlebotomist saw with her eagle eye that despite double (triple!) checking last time to make sure the test was correctly labelled, this time - a week later - it was not. She could not reach my gp who was in with a patient, so she rang the lab, who told her the bottle had to be filled 'to the line'. She wasn't able to do this (my vein stopped giving blood and she couldn't get any out of the other arm despite sticking me three more times) so who knows what will happen.

    The upside is that I have asked if I can get the private kit and bring it in for her to do the test for me, so maybe the positive outcome of all this is that I will opt out of all the messing about with multiple appointments I have to do to get my bloods done. I usually have to make a phone appointment to arrange for my blood appointment, and then I have to make a further appointment after my tsh comes back 'too low' even though all the gps know I have an endo and they always defer to him. So it would be nice - even if I have to pay for the test - to avoid the running around and the 3-4 week wait.

  • Hi punctured bicycle, sorry to hear about all the mess and chaos! Ive had the same but the nurse who takes my blood is on my side(thankyou!) I had to go back to get FT3 done because the labs originally didnt do it because my tsh was in range. We had to get the doc to write to them and say it is needed as im on t4 and t3. really annoying when your desperate for your results :( I cant remember the amount of vials she took tbh but ive had the same as you where wont give up my blood at all! one time iwas stabbed 5 times by a new nurse who kept apologising. i couldnt help laughing. we got there in the end. A nurse said to me if you have problems giving up your blood drink water before the test it should help xo

    You sure you cant change doctors?!?

  • Yes, so annoying! The lab refused the first time they asked but at that time I was not on t3. Now that I am, I had to tell my gp that she had to write that I was taking t3. You know what it's like, having to explain something very specific, "it isn't enough to put the test on the form, you have to write that I'm taking t3" etc without getting anyone's nose out of joint, and then having to explain it to every successive person to check that it's correct...

    This phlebotomist was the first person to tell me the thing about drinking water!! After a lifetime of people wringing their hands about my tiny veins, stabbing me over and over (like you), who knew all it took was a glass or two of water and a brisk walk??!! She told me she is keeping an eye on this test, so I hope we can solve the problem.

    I have thought about changing surgeries - I have seen just about every doctor in this surgery (five?) over the years - and have sussed out which ones were interested in treating my thyroid. The one I'm with now seems like she might be amenable to prescribing t3 if I can get my private doc to write her a letter about why I'm being treated with it. So for now I will see if I can find a way forward with the blood tests (seems like private is the best option) and cross my fingers. Frying pans and fires, etc.

  • Hi puncturedcycle - Im still reading :-) do you have one arm that is better than the other? They used to always want to take blood from my left arm when I went to donate - they would ask which hand I wrote with then go for the other one, then one time it wasnt just slow, they could hardly get anything out and sent me off.

    Next time I went to donate I reminded them and the nurse decided to try the other arm and BINGO they got the full pint or however much it was they were after and fast too.

    After that I always made sure they used my right arm - I'm right handed wonder if that makes he blood flow faster or something. Anyway I always make sure they used my 'good' arm for blood tests too.

    Hope your next tests work out.

    Liz x

  • There was quite a dramatic difference between the two. She never has a problem w my left arm but she tried my right when she realised she didn't have quite enough blood. She said the vein was completely different and she couldn't get a drop despite sticking me three times.

    If only I had known earlier about the drinking water trick. I can't tell you the misery it was to have blood taken (or the couple of times I needed a drip, omg) when I was younger. It got better as I got older. Apparently veins are also more visible/palpable/easy to stick when you are and/or the weather is warm.


  • I hadn't heard about drinking water either. Must try that even though my blood flows quite well, mind you I have always gone straight after a mug of really really weak tea so it is probably the same thing.

    The phlebotomist always uses a strap thing on my arm but I never feel as if she tightens it enough to make any difference, I seem to remember the blood transfusion people tugging it until it was pretty tight. I never feel any pressure when this woman uses it.

    Here we are now all dying to have a blood test again try out the water trick to see if it works :-)


  • that sounds like the best option and will probes prevent all the extra fuss that they seem to be creating. all the best for the next few weeks and let us know how it goes :)

  • Many thanks! It is so great to be able to come here and have a moan sometimes. x

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