Robotic Phlebotomy: The $9 Billion Needle

Written By Jason Stutman

Updated April 19, 2020

My friend and roommate in college was a raging alcoholic.

He was also a diabetic.

And if you’re thinking that’s a recipe for disaster, I couldn’t agree with you more.

I remember the alarm on his insulin pump going off one evening. I had no idea what it meant, but it couldn’t have been a good sign.

I attempted to shake him to consciousness, but to no avail. He just turned off the alarm, mumbled something incomprehensible, and fell back asleep.

I stayed up all night to make sure he didn’t stop breathing.

The next morning, he laughed it off. The next evening, he finished an entire 30-pack.

I’m not even kidding…

I mention this because my friend is now a nurse. And if you ever happen to find yourself in an ambulance on its way to Fredrick Memorial Hospital, you better hope it’s not his shift.

The fact is, I wouldn’t trust this friend with any sort of medical task. I mean, this is a guy who would leave used insulin needles all over our townhouse and would occasionally mistake his closet for a toilet.

That whole “trust me, I’m a doctor” thing just doesn’t cut it.

And while we all deserve the best health care practitioners, we can’t always expect that we’ll get them.

For instance, that phlebotomist sucking out your blood with a needle only needed to complete a one-semester course to gain certification. That’s one-sixteenth of a college education to act as a medical professional…

And with an average wage of just $13.50 an hour, you can’t expect him to take the job all that seriously in the first place.

On a personal level, I’m lucky enough to have large and visible veins – I’ve never had anyone miss when drawing my blood.

But not all veins are created equal – I know of plenty of people who routinely need to get stuck more than once for a successful draw. Maybe you’re one of them.

The fact is, the human eye can only see so much. And while this might sound terrifying, robots might just be better suited for the job.

In fact, robotic phlebotomy could end up being a $9 billion industry.


If you don’t believe me, just check out the video below. Oh, and do your best to pardon the condescending tone of the narrator. I’m not sure why she is addressing us like we are little children.

Robot or functioning alcoholic? Take your pick…

Turning progress to profits,

  JS Sig

Jason Stutman

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