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What makes a good anesthesiologist?


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treasa’s Answer

ALTHOUGH good clinical care in anesthesia has many components,1the ability to diagnose and treat acute, life-threatening perioperative abnormalities is near the top of most anesthesiologists' lists. In comparison to other industries performing hazardous work, health care lags behind in its capability to ensure that its personnel are uniformly and provably skilled practitioners.2,3How to measure clinician performance challenges all domains of medicine and is particularly difficult for hazardous and complex domains such as anesthesiology that involve invasive therapies with the proverbial “hours of boredom, moments of terror.” In this issue of Anesthesiology, Murray et al. 4report on their team's continuing effort (see also the December 2003 issue of Anesthesiology5) to develop a validated test of this performance ability of anesthesiologists using mannequin-based simulation scenarios.

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Kim’s Answer

Speaking from a patient's perspective: The anesthesiologist is the one who keeps your body functioning properly while the surgeon performs surgery. Let's say you are getting ankle surgery. That's where the surgeon will be. The anesthesiologist will be monitoring your vitals, administering anesthesia, making sure you stay under until the surgery is over, etc.

Every anesthesiologist I ever had has been "good" from my perspective. Why? They always come in and talk to me prior to the surgery, review meds, allergies, side effects, etc. They listen to my concerns and follow up on them in the OR. For example, I have really dry eyes, dry mouth, etc. They lubricate my eyes, lubricate the tube that goes down my throat, etc. They do everything possible to make it as comfortable for me as possible. Granted, that's not their primary duty. I cannot speak to how they perform while I am under!

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