"I didn't mind the operation or anything at all about the hospital except the bedpan," is one of the commonest expressions heard from discharged patients. The bedpan as an important adjunct in the management of the bed patient had probably been used for many years previous to the issuance1 of the American patent in 1877. It is apparent that its use was widespread at the time since it was mentioned in nursing manuals2 and advertised in catalogs of surgical and hospital supply companies. Defecation on the bedpan is difficult and sometimes dangerous, and in addition to the psychological indignity imposed on the patient it subjects him to physiological discomfort and stress. Despite this, it has been universally used3 partly through habit and partly because with certain types of cases it is obviously a necessity.
Fortunately there has been a recent tendency to advocate more extensive use of
BENTON JG, BROWN H, RUSK HA, Birnbaum J. ENERGY EXPENDED BY PATIENTS ON THE BEDPAN AND BEDSIDE COMMODE. JAMA. 1950;144(17):1443–1447. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920170023006
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