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September 1987

'Captain of the Anesthesia Ship': Does It Make a Difference?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Gainesville, Fla

Arch Surg. 1987;122(9):1089. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400210126025

In Reply.—My motivation in writing the editorial in the July 1986 issue of the Archives1 was to point out what I believe are the appropriate lines of authority and responsibility for medical direction when anesthesia is administered, because the courts may vary in their decisions regarding this matter.

Mr Blumenreich, in his rebuttal to my statement when an "anesthesiologist personally administers anesthesia... clearly, only the anesthesiologist should be held responsible for the quality of anesthetic care," represents only one side of the issue. He states that there have been cases in which the surgeon was also held liable because it was determined that the surgeon was in control of the action of the anesthesiologist. However, Mr Blumenreich omitted to state that courts in Illinois, California, and Florida have ruled that, when an anesthesiologist is present, the operating surgeon is not liable for injury resulting from anesthesia. These courts

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