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November 6, 1987

Intravenous Therapy: Expanding the Bounds of Safety

Author Affiliations

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Nashville, Tenn

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Nashville, Tenn

JAMA. 1987;258(17):2418-2419. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400170104033

Intravascular infusion therapy was once a considerable chore. In days gone by, reusable large-bore steel needles made starting infusions a challenge, particularly when they had been transformed into hooks during their previous use. Once in place, needles were secured against all-too-frequent infiltration with elaborate immobilizing constructions of wooden arm boards and yards of adhesive gauze. Infusions were meant to stay in place as long as possible and house officers who developed a talent for placing perpetual infusions were envied by their peers.

Over the years, the manufacturers of medical devices provided a continuing series of innovations that made vascular infusion therapy more convenient. Among the first of these was the cheap, disposable needle. Suddenly, all needles were sharp! One of us was a senior medical student when this heaven-sent device first was used at the university hospital. The city hospital downtown, however, was slower to adopt disposable needles. There the