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Medical News & Perspectives
December 5, 2001

Anesthesiologists Urge Safe, Ethical Practice

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JAMA. 2001;286(21):2656-2658. doi:10.1001/jama.286.21.2656-JMN1205-2-1

New Orleans—Evidence that anesthesiologists consider patient safety their primary goal abounded at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), where presentations, panels, and posters focused on this issue.

Michael Roizen, MD, professor of anesthesiology and dean of the School of Medicine at the State University of New York at Syracuse College of Medicine, discussed the current state of preoperative testing, particularly the costs involved. "Medical testing is the biggest cost in medical care; $11.45 billion is spent on tests each year," he said. "Compare that with $10.5 billion spent on care of acute myocardial infarctions." Roizen, who focused on reducing preoperative testing at his former institution, the University of Chicago, emphasized that "a physician cannot evaluate a patient in 5 minutes. The patient's history is key to the entire perioperative health care plan. We must insist on more preoperative involvement and assessment by anesthesiologists, because this will lead to reducing unnecessary lab tests."

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