t's usually the worst part of a child's trip to the doctor. Those needle pricks, blood draws and vaccines not only produce antibodies and lab specimens, but tears and screams you can sometimes hear from the waiting room.
That's why doctors at NYU Langone Hospital for Joint Diseases' Center for Children are introducing a new, ouchless system.
"Our goal here is to always decrease pain in pediatric patients our hospital in particular is a surgical hospital so that's important," says Dr. Patricia Poitevien, Medical Director of Pediatric Medicine at NYU Langone Hospital for Joint Diseases' Center for Children. "From the moment child walks through the door to the moment they leave so we want to make sure their experience is as pain-free as possible. Part of getting ready for surgery is having blood drawn. And people might not believe this but children are often times more nervous about the needle stick than the actual surgery they are going to have particularly because they've had experiences with needle sticks before. They've had vaccines before. They've had blood drawn before so it is very real for them."
Using a syringe called the J-tip, a tiny canister of pressurized carbon dioxide pushes local anesthetic Lidocaine through the skin without the use of a needle. That numbs the skin in less than a minute before procedures like blood draws.
A topical cream that desensitizes the skin to needle insertion is also available but that can take up to an hour to work.
Doctors say the fast acting J-tip makes it a lot more likely that it could be introduced into regular practice.
"It is very quick. It is painless the administration system and the result is you have a child that is less anxious and nervous about this blood draw and all the blood draws they are going to have in the future," explains Poitevien.
Many adults still dread needles too. The hospital is considering using the J-tip before adult surgery and other therapies that require multiple needle sticks.