The use of medical orders in acute care oxygen therapy.

Ming Wong, Malcolm Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The life of every living organism is sustained by the presence of oxygen and the acute deprivation of oxygen will, therefore, result in hypoxia and ultimately death. Although oxygen is normally present in the air, higher concentrations are required to treat many disease processes. Oxygen is therefore considered to be a drug requiring a medical prescription and is subject to any law that covers its use and prescription. Administration is typically authorized by a physician following legal written instructions to a qualified nurse. This standard procedure helps prevent incidence of misuse or oxygen deprivation which could worsen the patients hypoxia and ultimate outcome. Delaying the administration of oxygen until a written medical prescription is obtained could also have the same effect. Clearly, defined protocols should exist to allow for the legal administration of oxygen by nurses without a physicians order because any delay in administering oxygen to patients can very well lead to their death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-464
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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