3-10. UNCONSCIOUS OR SEDATED PATIENTS
Numerous hazards pose dangers to unconscious or sedated patients. The
specialist must therefore be especially cautious when caring for such patients.
a. Attendance of the Patient. Never leave an unconscious or sedated patient
alone on the operating table, stretcher, or in a wheelchair. He may fall or roll from the
table and injure himself. A sedated patient may be confused or disoriented in addition
to being drowsy and because of this, he may attempt to get off the table or stretcher and
thereby injure himself. Ensure that side rails are raised and locked into position.
b. Transportation of the Patient. Exercise care when transporting the patient
to and from the OR so that he is not injured going through doors and hallways. Restrain
the patient lightly to prevent him from rolling from the stretcher during transportation.
Ensure that side rails are raised and locked into position. Cover him adequately to
c. Application of Restraints. Apply restraints so there is no pressure on the
nerve, no impairment or respiration, and no obstruction of circulation.
d. Position of the Patient. Keep the body of the patient in proper alignment
when placing him in position for surgery. There should not be unnecessary strain on
the muscles. All braces and attachments used in positioning the patient must be
padded. When the patient's position is to be changed, he should be moved slowly and
gently to prevent circulatory depression.
e. Removal of Prosthesis. All removable prosthesis will be left on the ward,
properly identified and stored. A final check will be conducted in the OR to ensure that
all prosthesis (false teeth, false eyes, and so forth) has been removed.
The surgeon may wish to have a prosthetic device left in place for the
performance of certain reconstructive surgery. In this event, he will write an
order on the patient's chart for the benefit of the nursing unit personnel. Also,
the OR Schedule should include a notation to leave the prosthetic
device in place.
3-11. TRANSPORTING THE PATIENT
a. Discussion. Within any treatment facility, the methods and procedures used
for taking a patient into and out of an OR must be implemented in such a way that the
patient is not harmed in the process. The methods and procedures in use vary,
depending upon the type of medical installation. For example, at an aid station caring
for the combat wounded, transporting the patient prepared for surgery may involve little
more than lifting the litter onto litter supports and reversing the procedure after surgery.