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March 6, 1967

Early Ambulation Without Adequate Supervision

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1967;199(10):767. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120100129041

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To the Editor:—  Early ambulation has been widely accepted as a means of preventing postoperative complications and improving the patient's morale. However, this procedure can be difficult for some patients without proper supervision by a physician or nurse.Although the patient's first ambulation is a routine procedure to the physician, to the patient it is an important milestone in recovery, and he approaches it with mixed feelings, trepidation, and a warmly emotional hope of accomplishment.A physician will frequently order his patient out of bed, thinking only of the surgical aspects of his case, without remembering that the rapid elevation of some patients from a supine to a sitting position with or without ambulation often results in lightheadedness, giddiness, vertigo, and occasionally nausea and fainting. Only too frequently we blithely order the patient out of bed and walk away. The patient is rapidly "cranked up" to the sitting position, dumped into a chair, and left