Houston Press Highlights Surgery Risks and Importance of Physician Anesthesiologist Involvement - American Society of Anesthesiologists

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Houston Press Highlights Surgery Risks and Importance of Physician Anesthesiologist Involvement

The tragic and sudden death of a patient is always earth shattering for the family, friends and health care team who loved and cared for that person. No amount of time or words can take away the pain of the loss. We send our heartfelt condolences to all those affected by these tragedies. 

Sadly, “Going under: what can happen if your anesthesiologist leaves the room during an operation,” serves as a stark reminder that, although rare, every procedure and surgery carries the risk of complication or even worse, death. 

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is committed to assuring the safety of every single patient undergoing anesthesia. As part of that commitment, we believe that supervision of anesthesia care by a physician is vital before, during and after surgery to help ensure that every patient receives the highest quality and safest care. Patients receive that care when physician anesthesiologists deliver anesthesia personally or lead an Anesthesia Care Team. When seconds count, when medical emergencies or other complications occur unexpectedly, physician anesthesiologists can draw on their extensive medical education, years of clinical training and experience to make critical decisions that save lives. 

The ASA backs our commitment by supporting vital patient safety research and education. In 1985, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation was founded, the first organization of its type dedicated to research for improving anesthesia safety. ASA’s nationally recognized Closed Claims Project as well as the Society’s respected guidelines and standards, illustrate ASA’s decades-long dedication to making the safe and effective practice of anesthesiology possible for every patient. ASA’s Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI), established in 2009, is the largest anesthesia registry in the country with more than 31 million cases. It aims to be the primary source of information for quality improvement in the clinical practice of anesthesia. AQI’s registries provide case data that can be used by physician anesthesiologists to assess and improve patient care.

As a result of the leadership of physician anesthesiologists, anesthesia care is safer now than ever before. However, these tragedies remind us that our work is not yet done and we must remain committed to advancing physician-led anesthesia care and the research and education to support that care.

J.P. Abenstein, M.S.E.E., M.D. 
ASA President 


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