New Jersey Appellate Court Upholds Requirement for Presence of Anesthesiologists When Nurse Anesthetists Administer Anesthesia in Hospitals

Parsippany, N.J. — (December 14, 2012) 

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the New Jersey State Society of Anesthesiologists (NJSSA) applaud a ruling  by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, which upholds a New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) regulation requiring anesthesiologists to be present when nurse anesthetists deliver anesthesia in hospitals. 

“This critical decision puts the safety of patients in New Jersey first,” said ASA President John M. Zerwas, M.D. The regulation requires the “presence of an anesthesiologist during induction, emergence and critical change in status” when an Advanced Practice Nurse/Anesthesia (APN/A) administers general or major regional anesthesia, conscious sedation or minor regional blocks in a hospital.

The case, New Jersey Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Inc. v. New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, was argued on October 1, 2012. The court’s December 12, 2012 decision referenced previous case law holding that the administration of anesthesia is the practice of medicine. The court also highlighted it was within NJDOH’s authority to “recognize the differences in education, training and skill of APN/As and anesthesiologists in establishing hospital anesthesia staffing regulations.”

“NJSSA filed several briefs on the case and also presented arguments to the court, providing an important perspective for its deliberations,” said NJSSA President Mordechai Bermann, M.D. “Anesthesiologists are highly skilled physicians who have significantly longer and more extensive training than nurse anesthetists. We are able to make split-second medical decisions in the operating room. The ruling will help protect the quality of health care in our state.”

To learn more about the important role of physicians during the administration of anesthesia, please visit


Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Join the ANESTHESIOLOGYTM 2014 social conversation today. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter and use the hashtag #ANES2014.



American Society of Anesthesiologists