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WORKING TOGETHER TO AVOID PROBLEMS

Surgeons and anesthesiologists have a common interest in avoiding patient injuries and medical malpractice litigation. The central dilemma is that the evaluation and informed consent for surgery is generally done separately from the evaluation and informed consent for anesthesia. In most cases, this poses no problem because the patient is either too healthy or too sick for the anesthesia evaluation to change the decision to perform the surgery. The conflict arises when the patient is sufficiently unhealthy to pose an anesthesia risk but not in need of urgent surgery. In these cases, the patient's anesthesia fitness should be determined before the consent is obtained for surgery.



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