Circulation 76,548 • Volume 20, No. 4 • Winter 2005   Issue PDF

Fatigue Must Be Addressed

Brian K. Miller, CRNA, MS

To the Editor

I appreciate the attention that your newsletter has given to the threats to patient safety that arise from fatigued anesthesia providers. I agree with Dr. Curry’s letter (Fall 2005 issue) that more providers are needed to enhance safety for our patients. Faced as we are with a shortage of anesthesiologists and CRNAs, it is unlikely that bolstered staff ranks will soon alleviate this problem. A brief review of interdisciplinary literature reveals that the impact of fatigue is being acknowledged in many practice specialties, even those that do not face the manpower issues that we experience. I believe that it is time for the anesthesia community to forge a position paper that deals with the scheduling of providers. Through this, health care administrations may be made more aware of the significant threats that face patients due to overworked and under-supported providers. Vigilance is the key to safer anesthesia.

Brian K. Miller, CRNA, MS
Hudson, WI