The Tourniquet

This is a tourniquet

You might be wondering about this tourniquet. Can you pronounce that word? It's just a fancy name for a piece of elastic that stretches like a rubber band. Here's what it's used for. Take a look at the inside of your arm. See the veins? They're there, but often they're hidden, and without a tourniquet, it's very hard to find them to start IVs or to take out a little blood to test. When a tourniquet's tied tight around your arm, you should see those veins. They usually pop right up to the surface, and look sort of like the ones on the back of your grandmother's hands. Now the veins are much easier to stick, so an IV can go in in a jiffy if you need one! By the way, not every kid in the hospital needs an IV. I'm telling you about all of this because I think it's interesting to know.

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004