Assault simply involves causing someone to fear that bodily harm will come to them. For the crime of battery to take place, actual physical contact must occur. In phlebotomy, this can be an issue if a phlebotomist forces an injection on a patient against their will. If a phlebotomist intentionally holds a patient down or uses more force than necessary, he has committed battery. This can not only end a career, it can lead to ruinous lawsuits and criminal charges.
Another issue that falls into the category of assault and battery is use of a dirty needle. Even if no excessive force is used, a dirty needle can cause life-altering harm to a patient. A phlebotomist is legally responsible for ensuring the sterility of all equipment in his or her care.