Unnecessary blood draw and venipuncture remains a significant problem (less so than in previous years) in the super-elderly and very frail with a poor and limited supply of usable veins. If you are a caregiver, or have an elderly relative and an ambulance or hospitalization is necessary, it is worthwhile to provide input in this area (politely). In many jurisdictions paramedics have authority to start what is called a "lifeline" and draw bloods in the pre-hospital environment. Usually they try for the easiest vein, which is the left or right medial antecubital (in the crook of the elbow). What you don't know is that many (but not all) hospitals throw away the blood drawn by the paramedics and remove the line and start another even if the line is perfectly good. The reason provided is "insurance liability". Thus we start another line and waste another vein. There are only so many good veins available. And when they are gone a central line or cut-down is necessary. If there is an actual cardiac event, starting a lifeline in the house is probably a good idea, but many paramedics simply "want to play doctor", and will start a line and draw bloods for a broken arm, stubbed toe, or an eye infection, regardless of whether the patient is twenty years old of a hundred and five. In part this is not their fault. It is due in large degree to the fact that in many jurisdictions their "standing orders" mandate a lifeline. This is where a caregiver comes in. If the patient is elderly and frail, and in your care, there is no cardiac irregularity, or loss of blood, ask the medics "is this line necessary?". Be persistant, but not obnoxious. When you accompany a patient to the hospital, ask the admitting physician to think about whatever bloods he may need for tests and to take them at one time. Don't yell, but make a small issue of this. The other issue is they take too much blood, but that cannot be addressed by you. It is possible for the same blood test to be performed using far less blood that is generally drawn. It is not unusual, in my experience, for within the course of an ER visit by an elderly person for four separate blood draws, and then another when they are moved upstairs to a ward. Arghhh! The patient passes through several specialists and every one wants a special test. Plus, an a teaching hospital students like to have a "full panel" as part of the "teaching experience".