• Mitch Keamy Photo Mitch Keamy is an anesthesiologist in Las Vegas Nevada Andy Kofke Photo Andy Kofke is a Professor of Neuro-anesthesiology and Critical Care at the University of Pennslvania Mike O'Connor Mike O'Connor is Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the University of Chicago Rob Dean Photo Rob Dean is a cardiac anesthesiologist in Grand Rapids Michigan, with extensive experience in O.R. administration.

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What does differentiate you from a CRNA and why does it matter---gaspasser


Simply put, an anesthesiologist is a physician. A CRNA is a nurse. Why should this matter? Parenthetically, do we ever ask why a surgeon has to be a physician? Why not have nurses or techs do surgery?
But back to the question, which now becomes, why should an MD give anesthetics. Well, sometimes, it's not necessary, I suppose. A simple hernia or gall bladder. As long as there are no medical complications. Just like probably a nurse could do an appendix. Just like pharmacists's mates did them on subs in WW II in movies. If it goes well, no problem. Patients whose cases are complicated by medical diseases (coronary artery disease, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, etc, etc) benefit from having a physician versed in the underlying disease process and how it impacts on the surgery and anesthetic. How about Monkberg's cystic medial necrosis in a patient underging cerebral artery aneurysm clipping? (saw one.) As I said in my post "We have met the Enemy and He is us," I have no difficulty with the care team model.I like CRNA's. It leverages the knowledge of the anesthesiologist across a wider area. But When things get ugly (which they can, unexpectedly) a diligent anesthesiologist is a good person to have around. I have no problems with CRNA's; they have a problem with me, because they don't like it that I think there is a difference between MD anesthesiologists and CRNA's. They want to be the same. But they are not. They are good, but they are not MDs. And sometimes (you can't always predict when) an MD is necessary.


If you want to know the real difference between a CRNA and an anesthesiologist, look at anesthesioboists thoughtful posts on "informed consent, sign here please," and then go look at the CRNA forum and look in the "passing gas forum" for "This is unreal you have to see it." You might want to take a look at too and see some of the posts there as well. You will have a well rounded view of Anesthesiologists, CRNA's and some very unhappy patients!

Betty Wadland

I am a CRNA. I celebrate the RN in my credentials and have every awareness of what that perspective brings to the patients I serve. I always make it clear who I am and what the letters stand for.
I have worked most of my career (39 yrs) in the Anesthesia Care Team model. I have deep respect for the competent and knowledgeable Anesthesiologist and understand the importance of what a physician brings to the care of patients. I am so tired of the war waged on both sides of this battle which does nothing to promote better care for patients. There are good and bad nurse as well as physician anesthesia providers. The truth is that the public is served best when we each carry out our professional responsibilities with diligence and respect.

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