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May 2, 1977

The Ubiquitous (and Extravagant) Intravenous Infusion

Author Affiliations

UCLA School of Medicine Los Angeles

JAMA. 1977;237(18):1927-1928. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270450017004

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To the Editor.—  Current medical practice in the United States is centered around the intravenous (IV) infusion. Very few patients manage to escape from hospital without the boon of intravenous lactated Ringer solution, dextrose, and saline. It appears that the normal route for the assimilation of fluids is abruptly terminated at the hospital admitting office. Those of us involved in the care of the surgical patient are particularly guilty of this intrusion. While the infusion of fluids into a vein has undoubtedly saved countless lives and has kept the kidneys of legions of patients thoroughly flushed throughout the hospital stay, it is high time to reexamine our compulsion to start IV infusions in every patient.One must question the practice of having a 112.5-kg linebacker limping around the hospital after his meniscectomy, pushing in front of him an IV pole from which is dangling 500 ml of lactated Ringer solution.