Each day I work clinically, it is easy for me to see the effects of anesthesiologists promoting safer anesthesia for their patients. Because our input is so wide reaching, it is easy for an uninformed viewer to miss one or more of the several parts we play in improving outcomes. We’ll review two hypothetical patients to emphasize those roles. Each is presented here for illustrative purposes only.

One of the surgeries I have personally experienced is the reconstruction of an anterior cruciate ligament. The ligament was damaged playing flag football in medical school, then completely torn in two while snow skiing several years later. I benefited from an epidural. Not only did this give me a solid surgical anesthetic (which I don’t recall – apparently, I was asking the surgeon too many questions, so my anesthesiologist let me snooze...

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