Needle phobia

Hello, I am a neurotypical GP. I have changed some of the details below to protect a patient's identity.

I saw a 21 year old today with autism. We had a long chat together with her mum about her fear of needles. She had a life threatening condition a while back which required her to have some blood tests and a cannula put into her arm.

She found that she was unable not to look at the vein etc. when they were going to try to take blood and could not stand the thought of anyone taking her blood.

She does not currently need any blood tests, but her mum is worried what might happen if she ever does need one in the future. 

On the previous occasion when she did need the blood tests / a cannula, she had to be sectioned in order for this to be done.

She does not wish to try a local anaesthetic or counselling.

I have said I would be happy to work with her, for as long as it takes, to help her overcome her fear of needles. I have said she would never have to do anything she does not want to do, and that she can decide what we do when we have an appointment. I thought maybe I could gradually introduce the equipment at the first appointment and take it slowly from there.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how best to approach this?

Many thanks!

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  • Hello port moon,

    I could be very wrong but it may not be anything to do with needles?

    A while ago I had to give blood for various tests that were needed, it was my first time giving blood,

    I have had many needles over my lifetime, mostly tetanus and local anaesthetic, , I am not brilliant with knowing a needle is being pushed into my body, I am not Squamish about blood, used to catch rabbits when a teenager to prepare and eat,

    Before I gave the blood whilst sat waiting i kept thinking how wrong it was to take a part of me away, It was a strange thought which I couldn’t really reason with,

    I was ok with the needle, the nurse took seven vials of blood, I sat looking out the window with my hand holding the cotton wool on where the needle had been, as she started to write the labels and fix them into each tube,I looked across at her I saw the quantity of blood and although I did not feel at all wheezy I did feel as if a part of me had for the first time in my life been taken. And would be lost, never returned,

    I then came to hunched over in the chair surrounded by many staff!

    I had passed out, I started sweating profusely, I felt hot, as they were attaching things to me I asked what had happened,

    eventually they managed to get me into the couch, i then felt ice cold and turned a shade of blue, I had an oxygen mask on,they had cables all over me, a new canuler with saline going in, they monitored my oxygen through my finger, they did my blood sugar levels, I had two gp’s and three nurses all focused on me,

    An ambulance was called, my wife was phoned, I got stretchered into the ambulance, rushed under siren and lights to the main hospital?

    I had a single blood test there which involved a needle, no problem with that, the canuler didn’t bother me.blood sugar levels, blood pressure etc, new wires with new pads were added in the ambulance,

    After a while I was released to go home.

    When I revisited the doctors a few days later I asked why I had Fuentes?

    I was told I hadn’t? I asked what they meant by that, the answer was it was not a fientvas they often deal with that, I had gone so deep that nothing would raise me, I was out for quite a period of time, many minutes, hence why they assumed I was in cardiac arrest.

    They looked at all the results they the ambulance and the hospital had done, nothing was found to be wrong, everything normal.

    So no reason why I had shut down so deep?

    It does concern me, they couldn’t give a reason and behaved as ah well whatever it was you are ok now?

    They admitted it had caused them much concern,

    I have never Fiented or passed out before.

    As I read your post it came into my mind that she does not want to give her blood, Maybe it is not the needle at all, but thevtaking away of something that is hers?

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