Each year, approximately 50 million surgical procedures are performed in the United States. Any surgery performed under anesthesia (even those considered minor or routine) requires at least two doctors, a surgeon and an anesthesiologist. The surgeon is the doctor who performs the procedure. The anesthesiologist is the doctor who administers the anesthesia and monitors the patient during surgery. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the primary roles of an anesthesiologist during surgery are to:
- Provide constant medical assessment and management of the patient
- Monitor and control the patient’s vital life functions including, heart rate and rhythm, breathing, blood pressure, body temperature and body fluid balance
- Control the patient’s pain and level of consciousness
The role of the surgeon is to use proper surgical technique and to carefully perform the procedure. Moreover, before ending the procedure, the surgeon must make sure there is no injury to any adjacent structures, organs or vessels. An inadvertent cut or nick to a vessel or organ can lead to internal bleeding, infection, and even death if not caught during the surgery or soon after.
You have the right to expect both the surgeon and anesthesiologist to employ best practices and to effectively communicate during surgery to ensure the successful and safe completion of the operation.
If you or a loved one suffered harmed as a result of a surgical procedure, contact us to talk about your options on next steps to take.