Wyoming Society of Anesthesiologists President John Mansell, M.D., submitted a letter to the editor to the Gillette News Record (Gillette, Wyoming). His letter was published in the Feb. 1 issue of the newspaper. The full text can be found below:
This is National Physician Anesthesiologists Week, a great time to recognize the Wyoming doctors who apply over 12 years of school and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training to provide care in the operating room, the emergency room, the intensive care unit and labor and delivery suites across the state.
In addition to planning and implementing a safe anesthetic plan for your elective surgery, physician anesthesiologists are the “go to” doctors for emergencies in trauma, critical care and obstetrics, called on every day by other doctors when there is a medical emergency and the patient care team needs our help. On any given night, every night, across the state roughly a third of our members stand by to provide emergency care as well, as they do for most of their careers.
Over the past few years we have used technology to dramatically improve anesthetic safety. While this has made surgery safer, it has also led to the temptation to believe that our expertise and experience is not critical to good surgical outcomes. Anesthesiologists amass almost 40,000 hours of clinical training and experience by the time they are 40. When disasters happen, and they do, our clinical experience enables us to rapidly and decisively utilize our technology to save lives. We also subspecialize in pediatrics, cardiac surgery, obstetrics, and pain management, where we help diagnose and treat chronic pain with non-opiate, non-addictive options.
This month Gov. Mark Gordon has been asked to eliminate the federal requirement for physician supervision in the practice of anesthesiology. Arguments being made to him, and the Board of Medicine include that it’s cheaper, improves access and just as safe without a physician. Multiple peer-reviewed studies, some including millions of operating room cases, have disproven all three of these arguments.
Our concern for Wyoming is that the core reason for asking the Governor to lower anesthesiology practice standards is choosing some form of profit over safety. Please contact Governor Gordon at www.wyo.gov/contact-us and tell him to preserve safety standards that have been in place for almost six decades.
While we celebrate this week every year, we hope to preserve the well-proven safety standards of anesthesiology and are honored and proud to care for Wyoming every day.
John Mansell, M.D.
President, Wyoming Society of Anesthesiologists