Volume 3, No. 1 • Spring 1988

Wandering Anesthetists

Arthur P. Melgrave, FRCP

To the Editor

Regarding the September editorial about anesthetists leaving the O.R., the point struck home. I am one of 12 staff of a fully accredited associate teaching hospital of the University of Calgary Medical School. Early in 1987, some of the O.R. nurses got annoyed. They complained that some of us were wandering about a little too much. They complained directly to the hospital Patient Care Committee, sidestepping all normal channels. This was very effective. Any anesthetist may be unaware of how “wandering” can become a habit.

No hospital should be accredited if it has no monitors and has otherwise inadequate equipment or if there is failure to use the monitors or reasonably standard machines. Hospital administrations and boards must be rapidly brought to a state of mind that requires all the appropriate “goodies” and their use.

Our own battles are somewhat different. With anesthesia machines getting more and more complex and expensive, it means a huge replacement cost once a decade or sooner. Our next bill will come to half a million dollars just for machines and, in addition, the whole hospital (O.R., Recovery, I.C.U.) is going to have oximeters.

Arthur P. Melgrave, FRCP(C), Calgary General Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, Canada