Pilots, Drivers Should Not Read, Nor Should We

Joseph M. Saenz, M.D.

To the Editor

I am responding to the letter from Lt. Col. Bostek in the Winter APSF Newsletter regarding reading during cases. I would have to agree with most of his conclusions. In the past, I have tried to read anesthesiology-related material during cases and found that I could not concentrate well enough to comprehend what I was reading. Also, I felt that vigilance would be compromised if I did not give my full attention to the patient. Thus, I abandoned the practice early in my career.

Let me draw an analogy. We would not want our airline pilot, auto mechanic, taxi driver, or any other person providing a service for us in any area in which lack of attention to detail could result in harm to us not giving their full attention to the performance of their job. Our patients have the right to expect nothing less from us. The anesthesiologist, not an electronic box with alarms, is the most important monitor.

Joseph M. Saenz, M.D. V.A. Medical Center Jackson, MS