“I need a ‘thingey,'” I said to the technician holding the cat from whom I needed to draw blood. I rummaged through the drawer in the exam room. “There’s no ‘thingey’ in here.”

The technician called to another technician passing by the room. “Hey, can you bring Dr. Fannon a ‘thingey?'”

Miraculously, we all knew what we were talking about. A “thingey” is that clear plastic cup-like doodad that you insert the needle part of the butterfly catheter into which then holds the blood tube steady. I have called it a “thingey” for years because I don’t know the correct name for it. One can draw blood without the “thingey”, but the “thingey” makes it much easier.

After several years of calling the doodad a “thingey”, I got curious as to what the proper medical terminology was for it. Surely it had to have a name.

“Does anybody know what the proper terminology is for a ‘thingey?'” I asked.
Nobody knew.

“I’m going to look it up,” I announced. So off I went to Dr. Google. It turns out they are called “vacutainer holders.” What a let down. How unexciting. You’d think someone would have come up with a more medically complicated name, such as a “Kleiner-Dickinson hematology apparatus”, named after the men who invented the vacutainer system. (Sometimes they are called “BD vacutainer holders” after one of the inventors. I don’t know what happened to the recognition of the second guy, Joseph Kleiner.) Anyway, my suggestion would make this simple piece of plastic sound much more official and important. Who ever heard of a piece of medical equipment being named something so ordinary?

As for me, I’m still referring to the vacutainer holder as a “thingey.” At least everyone knows what I’m talking about.

Vacutainer Tube