Physician Anesthesiologists Are Made for Critical Moments

  • Responding to a crisis.
  • Keeping patients safe and pain-free in surgery.
  • Lowering risk and improving patient outcomes.

Physician anesthesiologists are uniquely trained for the critical moments in health care — in the operating room, in the delivery room, in the intensive care unit — and they make anesthesia safer for everyone, from infants to older adults. No other type of practitioner can match their ability to navigate vital moments of care.

We are physicians first, and then anesthesiologists. Giving anesthetics and placing a breathing tube is only a small part of our everyday job.

Dr. Bhoumesh Patel, physician anesthesiologist, Texas Heart Institute

Patients Prefer Physician Anesthesiologists

  • 8 in 10 patients want a physician anesthesiologist by their side to keep them safe in surgery.
  • 9 in 10 surgeons believe physician anesthesiologists are the best qualified to respond to complications and emergencies in the operating room.
  • The majority of surgeons and patients think physician anesthesiologists are the most important guardians of patient safety during surgery.

Source: Independent survey conducted by PSB for ASA

Rushing to the Front Lines of COVID-19 Care

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in 2020, physician anesthesiologists quickly pivoted to treating COVID-19 patients in ICUs. They were uniquely prepared for the moment, with education, training, and expertise in pulmonary physiology, critical care medicine, ventilation strategies, resuscitation, intubation, and pain management. Many voluntarily traveled to hard-hit areas of the country to help, even though procedures like intubation put them within inches of a patient’s mouth and at very high risk for infection.

Providing Unmatched Expertise for Patients and Hospitals

Physician anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in anesthesia care, pain management and critical care medicine, and who have the knowledge needed to treat the entire body. Their education and training includes:

  • 12 to 14 years of postsecondary education, including medical school.
  • 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training.
  • At least four months of concentrated work in intensive care units.
  • Subspecialty training to develop expertise in a particular area, such as pediatric surgery, labor and delivery, pain management, critical care, neurosurgery, or cardiac surgery.

Saving Lives in Surgery

Physician anesthesiologists are guardians of patient safety in the operating room — leading the Anesthesia Care Team, monitoring vital signs, preventing complications, and responding to medical emergencies. No one can match the education and training they receive for the moments when quick action can make the difference between life and death.

The presence of a physician anesthesiologist prevented 6.9 excess deaths per 1,000 cases in which an anesthesia-related or surgical complication occurred.

Independent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Anesthesiology®

Improving Hospital Quality and Patient Outcomes

As experts in perioperative care, physician anesthesiologists are highly educated and trained to work with patients before, during, and after surgery to evaluate their overall health, identify and account for underlying medical conditions, manage post-operative pain, and plan for and supervise their recovery.

The physician anesthesiologist’s involvement in perioperative care helps reduce unnecessary testing, same-day cancellations, operating room emergencies, and the surgical complications that can impede patients’ recoveries and extend their hospital stays.

The Expertise of Physician Anesthesiologists on Display

“You’re basically right next to the nuclear reactor.”
The Washington Post, April 5, 2020

“Long Island anesthesiologist turned coronavirus first responder in the pandemic’s epicenter describes patients’ heartbreaking fear as one asked: ‘Am I going to die?’”
Daily Mail, May 28, 2020

“The Country Won’t Work Without Them. 12 Stories of People Putting Their Lives on the Line to Help Others During Coronavirus.”
Time, April 9, 2020