February 03, 2014
ASA Responds to The New York Times "Lifestyle Specialty" Label
As physicians committed to patient safety, the American Society of Anesthesiologists is concerned about the misrepresentation of physician anesthesiologists in your article, “Patients’ Costs Skyrocket; Specialists’ Incomes Soar.” You describe our specialty among those that “…are often called lifestyle specialties…and there are few emergencies in these fields.” This could not be further from the truth.
Physician anesthesiologists have a critical role before, during and after surgery. They remain vigilant throughout each surgical procedure, as even in the most routine procedures, emergencies can occur with little or no warning. It’s when seconds count that physician anesthesiologists apply their 14 years of higher education and 12,000-16,000 hours of training to make split-second decisions that save patients’ lives. For level one trauma centers and high-risk obstetrical units, physician anesthesiologists may be the only physicians present in the hospital 24/7, 365.
We have voluntarily chosen this medical professional because we are committed to advancing safe medical care and putting the safety of patients first.
Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D.,
American Society of Anesthesiologists