Vitamins in Hospitals

Vitamins in Hospitals



Some things are known to just not mix. There's oil and water, and then there's hospitals and vitamins. 

A hospital, by definition, is a collection of the sick, the injured, the infirm, and the stressed. All these situations call for larger than the normal quantities of dietary vitamins. When is the last time you saw a hospital or nursing home routinely give even a daily multivitamin, let alone specific high-dose therapeutic supplements

This can immediately change, and you can help do it. Prepare to stand firm on what is most important, and negotiate the rest. 

 1. If you want to take your vitamins while hospitalized, bring them with you. A written statement from your doctor that you will be doing so may save a lot of fuss. I'm not exaggerating: hospital staff often tell patients they may not take anything that the hospital didn't authorize them to take. You can hardly count on them to provide megadoses of vitamins. So it is a bit like a movie theater telling you that you can't bring in your own popcorn, but they won't sell you any, either. Vitamins are vastly more important to an enjoyable hospital stay than popcorn is to a movie. 

2. If a hospital staff member tries to take your vitamins away from you, say "STOP! That is my personal property. Please put it down right now." If they do not, immediately pick up the telephone and dial "9" and "1" while saying "I have dialed 9 and 1. The next button I press will be another 1. This will be a call to the police to report theft of my personal property. Put it back immediately."

 3. If you are given a plausible medical reason why you should not take vitamins, be bold and ask for written references. Look up each surgical procedure or medicine you are offered. Is there REALLY a problem with a vitamin? Complete information on drugs is contained in the PHYSICIANS' DESK REFERENCE (PDR), found in any hospital pharmacy, library or doctors' lounge. Your public library will probably even look it up for you if you telephone them from your room. 

The PDR lists all prescription medications (and there is another book for nonprescription medicines) with all their side effects, contraindications and any nutrient-drug interactions. It is quite rare for a vitamin to interfere with a prescription drug. Any such caution is in the PDR in writing. The same information is on drug package inserts. Do not assume that you doctor or nurse has memorized the nutrient/drug connections of some 3,000 drugs in the PDR. 

Surgical information may be obtained from sources other than your surgeon. Try the public or hospital library for the non-technical Good Operations, Bad Operations by Charles Inlander (Penguin, 1993). To know every aspect, two standard reference works are Textbook of Surgery, David Sabiston, ed. (Saunders, 1993) and Principles of Surgery, S. I. Schwartz, et al (McGraw Hill, 1989). 

By the way, any doctor or nurse who makes fun of you for being thorough probably should be more thorough themselves. Don't stand for harassment, especially when you are in the right. Tell a supervisor. 

Unacceptable Reasons for Stopping Vitamins: 
 a. "Vitamins will interfere with your tests." Just have the words "takes vitamins" added onto any paperwork. Interpretation can readily be made.  If there is a specific and essential test or procedure that clearly requires suspension of vitamin supplements, you can stop the day before and resume immediately after it is over. This way you only lose a day. 

 b. "Vitamins will be dangerous after surgery."  Since all nutrition textbooks indicate a substantially increased need for vitamins during wound healing, this is illogical. Some patients have been told that their blood-thinning medications (like Coumadin brand warfarin) are incompatible with vitamins, especially K, C and E. First of all, your supplements do not contain any vitamin K, because your intestinal bacteria make it for you. 

Vitamin C may lessen clotting time, and vitamin E may increase it. Taking both allows the body to achieve a natural balance. If you are given Coumadin, your prothrombin time should be monitored. Since they are constantly taking blood for some reason or other anyway, your "pro-time" can be checked often.  Instead of reducing your vitamins, doctors can simply adjust the amount of their drug. 

 c. "Vitamins are unnecessary if you eat right." I say, long hospital stays are unnecessary if they FED you right. Since they don't, supplements are the simple answer. If you   find a hospital that feeds you a vegetarian, three-quarters raw food diet (blended or juiced for some patients, as needed) then I will lighten up. Until then, "hospital food" will continue to deserve its almost pathogenic reputation, and supplements are completely justified. 

It may be their building, but it is your body. Accept nothing without an explanation that is satisfactory to you. If the nurse or doctor or aide or clerk or orderly or anyone else "says so," ask for a supervisor. If the supervisor "says so," ask to see the hospital administrator.  If she or he is "too busy" for such contact, leave. There are other hospitals. If this sound like shopping for a new car, well, it very nearly is.  Only this is more important. 

Remember: all bureaucracies are most sensitive at the top. Schoolchildren (unfortunately) know that the principal is more likely to be understanding than the teacher they just talked back to. The Board of Education will be even more attentive. Do not argue with a nurse, doctor or hospital staff member. DEMAND TO MEET WITH TOP AUTHORITY if there is any unresolved problem. No hospital executive wants another lawsuit.  If it takes a call to your attorney to make your point, then do it. 

Perhaps, after a tirade like this, you expect me to grab my broomstick and wail, "I'm melting!" I have no apology to make for asserting your right to assert your rights. 

Hospitals provide essential services and save lives. They will save even more when they fully utilize megavitamin therapy. 

Andrew Saul is the coauthor of HOSPITALS AND HEALTH: Your Orthomolecular Guide to a Shorter, Safer Hospital Stay. This book is available from any internet bookseller.

He is also the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )


Copyright C 2018, 2005 and prior years Andrew W. Saul.

Andrew W. Saul


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