To the Editor
This is in response to the unnamed surgeon and his observations of his anesthesia colleagues. Having practiced anesthesiology for 32 years, I feel the issue of reading in the OR is quite simple. If it interferes with your vigilance, don’t do it; if it improves your vigilance at appropriate times, fine. It should be done at the individual’s discretion, providing his or her anesthesia associates don’t consider that patient care is being compromised.
When a surgeon routinely takes eight hours or more, for example, to perform a peripheral vascular procedure on a stable patient, the anesthetist would have to be more dim-witted than the surgeon if he or she couldn’t read (or converse with the OR staff, for that matter) at selected appropriate times during the case.
If the unnamed surgeon, instead of critiquing the anesthesia care, were to consider devoting some time to help prevent such surgical outrages, patient care would truly be better served, and patients’ families spared the needless expense of surgical inefficiency.
Kenneth J. Cestone, M.D. Bennington, VT