April 24, 1972

Verbal Medical Orders

Author Affiliations

Vientiane, Laos

JAMA. 1972;220(4):586. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200040098027

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To the Editor.—  Lest Dr. Kinnaird's letter (219:217, 1972) start a grassroots revolt against the practice of signing verbal orders within 24 hours, I would like to advance a very practical rationale for doing it. I am persuaded that there are no infallible doctors or nurses, so I feel that it would behoove the person who gives and is responsible for the verbal order to examine the transcription for correctness. The sooner done, the more protected is the patient. In the acutecare situation it goes without saying that the doctor will be seeing the patient at least every 24 hours and utilizing the chart as well, so that a moment spent glancing at orders and signing what the nurse has written cannot be termed significantly "time-consuming" to consider discarding the practice. I have found it rewarding, many times, to not take anything for granted in the hospital, including the