Why Do Hospitals Put People On An IV?

Intravenous therapy is the preferred method for administering a myriad of different treatments, each of which must be prepared to exacting standards. The most common IV fluids used for almost all patients are mainly for replenishing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes—much like the sports drinks that are popular for athletes—so why can’t those just be administered in drinkable form? The main reason is that when a patient drinks fluid, it passes through the digestive system. That means that the nutrients and treatments in a drink take longer to reach the blood stream and start doing their work than if they had been injected directly. Also, in many cases a patient may have digestive troubles that (if they arrive to the hospital unconscious) medical staff may be unaware of, and it could be counterproductive or even harmful to try to force fluids down their throat. IVs are a safe, and highly effective way to help a patient begin recovery as soon as possible. In a fast-paced emergency ward, or in any medical facility, preparing specific solutions can take precious time that a patient may not have, and so many of the most common IV solutions (those that are useful to the widest variety of patients) are prepared and prepackaged off-site, by highly trained professionals, and under careful scrutiny.

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