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How Proposed New Rules Could Change the Anesthesia Care Team

Karen Sullivan Sibert

I admit, I was taken aback at the headline in the Houston Press:

Going Under: What Can Happen if your anesthesiologist leaves the room during an operation.”

The curious reader is bound to wonder why the anesthesiologist would leave the operating room in the first place.

Of course, reporter Dianna Wray explains that in many hospitals, one physician anesthesiologist often supervises multiple cases staffed by nurse anesthetists. This model of care is called the “anesthesia care team“, and has a very long record of safe practice in nearly all major hospitals in the United States. Typically, the anesthesiologist makes rounds from one operating room to the next, checking on each case frequently, just as an internal medicine physician would round on patients in the hospital who are being monitored by their nurses.

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