Doctors can tell a lot from looking at a patient's blood, and in order to do that, they depend on phlebotomy — the medical specialty of collecting blood using a needle.

In some cases, phlebotomy can help to diagnose a patient with a particular illness. The person who inserts the needle, draws the blood, labels the test tubes, and puts a bandage on the patient's arm is called a phlebotomist. The original definition of phlebotomy was simply "bloodletting," from the Greek roots phleps, "vein," and tomia, "cutting off." Historically, early phlebotomy involved using leeches to suck "toxins" from patients' blood.

Definitions of phlebotomy

n surgical incision into a vein; used to treat hemochromatosis

Type of:
incision, section, surgical incision
the cutting of or into body tissues or organs (especially by a surgeon as part of an operation)
formerly used as a treatment to reduce excess blood (one of the four humors of medieval medicine)

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