Circulation 76,548 • Volume 20, No. 3 • Fall 2005   Issue PDF

Vigilance is Central

W. Sterrett Foster, MD

To the Editor

It seems incredible to me that this debate over reading in the OR continues. The emergence of anesthesiology as a valid career choice for the better medical student was not based on income, time off, or the chance to catch up on the latest news while in the operating room. Rather, it was the growing image, due to the efforts of many physicians, of the anesthesiologist as a scientist/practitioner able to “stand tall” in the swirling medical mileau of modern medicine.

Vigilance is the centerpiece of the ASA coat of arms. That means constant watching of the patient, the procedure, and the monitors. We must not rely on the beeps and buzzes of our electronic marvels.

Our image in the medical community is fragile and constantly tested. We must not betray the vital function we supply to the trusting patient. All the outcome studies in the world do not justify this ethical lapse.

We can do better!

W. Sterrett Foster, MD
Louisville, KY