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January 30, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(5):416-418. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020050008003

Two distinctive factors in obstetric anesthesia are the presence of a fetus and the frequent emergency nature of the anesthesia. Advances in this field, comparable to those in anesthesia for general surgery, depend on attracting an adequate number of anesthesiologists into it. This is more important at present than new drugs or new techniques. Experience here analyzed represents a period from 1 945 through 1 956 in a hospital where deliveries under some form of anesthesia numbered about 3,800 to 3,900 per year. The type of organization needed to insure good anesthesia includes a liaison committee of anesthesiologists and obstetricians who must meet regularly and deal with mutual problems as they arise. The anesthesiologists, obstetricians, hospital administrators, interns, medical students, and patients all need education about the need for and importance of good obstetric anesthesia, for the task of administering the anesthesia, like that of delivering the baby, requires, the undivided attention of a trained physician.