As a resident physician training in anesthesiology, I am writing to bring attention to the bipartisan Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act (S. 2070/H.R. 3347). The bill in Congress aims to ensure that veterans have access to high-quality anesthesia care when using Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals. I believe veterans in Maine have earned and deserve no less than the standard of care as our state’s civilians.

The VA is proposing to supersede our state law and impose a lower standard of care for veterans. Under the VA’s proposal, the existing physician member of the anesthesia team would be eliminated, and VA would move to a certified registered nurse anesthetist-only model. This proposal removes important physician oversight of anesthesia care – a change that is inconsistent with the accepted model employed at the nation’s top hospitals.

Veterans treated at VA hospitals tend to be older and have more health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Many have been exposed to dangerous toxins, such as Agent Orange and toxins released from burn pits. These conditions increase the risk of serious complications during surgery. When the patient is more medically complex, the higher level of training and experience of an anesthesiologist is imperative to manage problems associated with anesthesia.

I strongly urge your readers and our elected leaders to support this legislation.

Andrew Egan

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: