What do you think

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15+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2004
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Are we anesthesiologists responsible for retained surgical instruments, including lap sponges, needles, etc, etc.? Are we responsible for making sure counts have been performed correctly by nursing staff and are we responsible for making sure the surgeon interprets X-ray films looking for rsi's correctly. How about making sure the surgeon examines the abdomen for rsi's prior to closing? This may sound rather ridiculous to you but could someone hold the anesthesiologist responsible for this?

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No. You'd probably still get sued initially if it happens so it'd be a big pain in the ass but I would think there's no way you'd end up liable. Maybe I'm am optimist.
You do not oversee the OR environment as a whole. You do not supervise the surgeon, scrub techs, or circulators. Aside from the ETT and lines, you put nothing in the patient. Nowhere on OR count or equipment sheets does it say your name, or anything about an anesthesiologist. In short, you have no responsibility for incorrect counts, retained surgical instruments, etc.

That having been said, yes, you probably will be named in the initial suit, but simply because you were in the room, and have money.

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