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December 11, 1981

An Anesthesiologist's Plea

JAMA. 1981;246(23):2692-2693. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320230018016

I want to plead with internists, family practitioners, and surgeons for understanding of the practice of anesthesiology and for cooperation with anesthesiologists.

In the minds of many, the definition of anesthesiology is muddled.

Anesthesiology is a practice of medicine dealing with, but not limited to, (1) the management of procedures for rendering a patient insensible to pain and emotional stress during surgical, obstetrical and certain medical procedures; (2) the support of life functions under the stress of anesthetic and surgical manipulations; (3) the clinical management of the patient unconscious from whatever cause; (4) the management of problems in pain relief; (5) the management of problems in cardiac and respiratory resuscitation; (6) the application of specific methods of inhalation therapy; (7) the clinical management of various fluid, electrolyte, and metabolic disturbances.

Of the seven facets of the American Board of Anesthesiology's definition, only two strictly involve operating room activities. Anesthesiologists have