Some patients who end up in the hospital, are administered more moisture than a healthy dosage. This is claimed by a group of Antwerpian physicians. They try to battle ill-considered use of intravenous therapy, called 'baxters' in slang. "It's a medicine, and medicine is never without any risk."
In many cases, what happens is this: a patient ends up in the emergency room and quickly gets a needle in the arm with a tube and an infusion. "It seems a routine matter, nothing weird about it", says doctor Manu Malbrain, medical director of the ZNA Stuivenberg hospital. "In people with an acute moisture deficiency, or in victims of a severe accident, intravenous therapy may be necessary. But some people already get the fluid when it is not yet clear what is the right course of action, for no apparent reason. As if it's a bag of water instead of a medicine with side-effects."
However, there ARE side-effects. The saline solution that is often administered, contains much more chlorine than our blood and disrupts our kidney functioning after several days. "Patients in our burn trauma centre always receive a fluid that is more similar to the composition of blood", says Malbrain.