Volume 1, No. 4 • Winter 1986

Quality of Machine Service Questioned

Elsie E. Meyers, M.D.

To the Editor

Thank you for the APSF Newsletter which describes the Anesthesia Apparatus Checkout Recommendations that we routinely follow. I am concerned about the “valid inspection sticker”. I believe it is generally thought that this implies service by a trained representative of the anesthesia machine supplier and that, according to a rather costly contract, this factory trained workman tears down the machines at least once a year, replaces rubber and worn parts, and replaces all vaporizers with factory cleaned and calibrated ones. Between his visits, a “trained” member of the biomedical engineering (BME) department makes emergency repairs. This is in the best of worlds.

Practically, there can be a different scenario: The maintenance and repair contract with the anesthesia machine company is not made, for reasons of economy. Instead, members of the BME department are trained for a week at a school conducted by one of the anesthesia machine companies. They are then deemed competent to do all routine maintenance and make emergency repairs on a variety of anesthesia machines. The result of such an arrangement is that, even after the anesthetist’s careful check out as recommended, disastrous break-downs and malfunctions occur.

In my view, the greatest service that can be made by the APSF is to provide standards for anesthesia equipment maintenance and repair personnel, so that a “valid inspection sticker” would indicate a machine that should be safe

Elsie E Meyers, M.D. St. Louis, MO