Reading Belittles Anesthesiologists’ Efforts

Robert Feinstein, M.D., Ph.D.

To the Editor

Regarding the letter in the Winter APSF Newsletter concerning reading in the OR, I feel that it is totally unacceptable for anesthesiologists to read in the OR during a case. This gives others in the OR the impression that what we do is not interesting or important. In other words, it tends to belittle our efforts to those around us.

It may be acceptable to read the package insert from a drug that you are about to administer with which you are unfamiliar, but I can think of no other circumstances under which this behavior is justified. Anesthesia is currently struggling for its economic W, and we don’t need to give our detractors justification. One can not read and be vigilant at the same time. If people find anesthesia that boring, then maybe they should choose another more stimulating area of medicine and leave anesthesia to those who find it interesting and challenging.

Robert Feinstein, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Anesthesiology

Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO