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Law Requires Anesthesia for Abortions

  • New laws and changes in legislature are common and affect many different things, including the world of healthcare. Medical professionals are required to make changes and adapt as needed to make sure they are following the laws and guidelines. Recently, a new law in Utah has passed that is causing conflict between medical professionals and the government. The bill, recently signed, is the first of its kind.  This new law requires anesthesia for abortions past 20 weeks to be administered by doctors to patients to eliminate pain for the fetus. Whether or not a fetus can feel pain at that state remains to be a controversial topic, and many doctors and medical professionals have varying opinions. “If a child can experience pain, we have an obligation to protect that child,” said Republican state Sen. Curt Bramble, who sponsored the law. Bramble originally hoped to ban all abortions after 20 weeks but abandoned the idea after legislative attorneys warned him it would likely be unconstitutional. Many agree that the fetus will feel some degree of pain and hope that this law will change that while protecting the fetus. While many support this law, many doctors disagree and are fighting back. Doctors are uniting across the country and are concerned if a law requires anesthesia for abortions, the use of anesthesia or painkillers may increase health risks for women by giving them heavy sedation. Some believe it is unnecessary and not healthy for the woman. Dr. Leah Torres, a Salt Lake City obstetrician-gynecologist claims to be confused by the law and says “I have no choice but to cross my fingers and hope that what I’m doing already is in compliance, because I don’t know what they’re talking about,” With the subject of fetal pain still being a very controversial topic, people can argue which side is right and wrong. Regardless of what a doctor or medical professional may believe, the bill passed and changes will now have to be made as this law requires anesthesia for abortions. With further research and tests, hopefully more information will be available on this controversial and important topic.

    25 May
    25 May
  • Photo Source The 2 new Rs of anesthesia patient safety: Right Indication and Right Documentation Medical practitioners are familiar with the 5 Rs of patient safety viz. Right patient Right drug Right dose Right concentration Right time However the rise of medication errors during procedures has necessitated the addition of 2 more… Right indication, and Right documentation You can never be too careful in the operating room or even during an office-based procedure. A small mistake can lead to disastrous consequences. As errors in the preparation and administration of medication seem to be on the rise, the need for the “double check” has become supremely important. And anesthesia service providers are not exempt. Here are some guidelines that will help reduce medication errors: Proper process: Implement a proper process including efficient double check techniques and equipment that facilitates right indication and documentation. Easy-to-read labeling: New and improved, easier-to-read standardized labeling, color and bar coding reduces chances of error significantly. Bar coding is also extremely helpful in improving documentation and billing. Diligent reporting: Regular communication among anesthesia providers about medication used, techniques and procedures increases awareness of issues as well as vigilance. Constant monitoring: There is no substitute for constant monitoring of a patient’s vitals and well-being for the slightest changes, to prevent small issues from assuming monumental proportions. Medical Director – Quality and Staff Anesthesiologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Robert Caplan’s analysis of The American Society of Anesthesiologist (ASA) Closed Claims Projects revealed that of the 80 medication-error claims studied, 44% were the result of anesthesia administered at the wrong dose. Furthermore, a study published by the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia also found that anesthetists experienced more than one drug error in their practice with syringe swap being the most prevalent category. The standard and goals for reducing medication errors set by regulatory agencies like the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and Joint Commission should form the basis of the process all anesthetists follow. Any deviation could increase your liability giving rise to serious malpractice issues. We welcome your ideas on processes that improve anesthesia services. Leave a comment on our blog below.

    05 Jan
    05 Jan
  • Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer killer and third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Early detection dramatically improves the chance of survival. Everyone over the age of 50 (93% of cases develop at and above 50) should have a colonoscopy (screening) every 3 to 5 years. However in the past, cost (co-payment/deductible) prevented people from going for much needed colonoscopies. Today, under the new Affordable Care Act, you and your family members may be eligible for some important preventive services like colonoscopies, mammograms and other cancer screenings at no additional cost to you. If your plan is subject to these new requirements, you would not have to pay a co-payment/co-insurance or deductible for recommended screenings. What is colorectal cancer? Colorectal (large bowel or large intestine) cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the inner lining of the colon or rectum (whose main function is to reabsorb water from the contents of the intestine so that solid waste can be expelled into the toilet). Most colon and rectal cancers originate from benign wart-like growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum called polyps. What is a colonoscopy? Colonoscopy (screening) is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon. It involves using a four foot long, flexible tube (about the thickness of a finger) called a colonoscope with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon. Before the screening, intravenous fluids are given and the patient’s heart rhythm, blood pressure and oxygen in the blood are continuously monitored. He/she is usually sedated to reduce pain and induce relaxation. A colonoscopy often produces a feeling of pressure, cramping, and bloating in the abdomen which is normally relieved by medication. Identifying and removing polyps (through colonoscopies) before they become cancerous prevents the development or further spread of colorectal cancer. Who needs a colonoscopy? •  Everyone age 50 and older – the average age to develop colorectal cancer is 70 years with 93% of cases occurring in persons 50 years of age or older •  Anyone with a family history of colorectal cancer •  Anyone with a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomas at any age, or cancer of the endometrium (uterus) or ovary diagnosed before age 50. These groups should be checked by colonoscopy at regular intervals, usually every 3 to 5 years. Why should you have a colonoscopy if you have no symptoms? Adenomas can grow for years and transform into cancer without producing any symptoms. When symptoms develop it is often too late to cure the cancer as it may have already spread. Regular colonoscopies mean early detection and more successful treatments. Sedation or Monitored Anesthesia Care, which to choose? Sedation is an integral part of your colonoscopy. While there are various sedatives to choose from, propofol usage (used in Monitored Anesthesia Care  MAC) has the most satisfying results. It is fast acting and takes effect right away. In addition, it has no long term effects (like nausea) and promotes quicker recovery times. It also works well for people who are on pain medication. An established anesthesia management company like Steel City Anesthesia has extensive experience with colonoscopy procedures. Our licensed anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetists are committed to patient safety and delivering quality care.  We assign local CRNAs on a routine basis which helps improve your productivity, patient flow and revenue. Share your thoughts on…

    21 Dec
    21 Dec
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 22 million men and women in the United States have not had a potentially life-saving screening test for colorectal cancer, and about 7 million women ages 50 to 74 have not had a recent mammogram. In fact, CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden says that, “More than a third of Americans who need to be screened haven’t been screened.” Cancer screening saves lives. You are probably already aware that colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States as well as the leading cause of cancer deaths among nonsmokers. Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the US. Cancer screening with treatment has lowered colorectal and breast cancer mortality. Moreover, statistical modeling indicates that if current trends in health behaviors, screening, and treatment continue, Americans can expect to see a significant decrease in the CRC mortality rate by 2020. The CDC also points out that cancer screenings could save 10,000 Americans each year. Why people don’t get cancer screenings? Insufficient information about preventive screenings and treatment Fear Lack of medical and screening facilities No proper follow-up procedures No health insurance Cancer deaths are lower today than in the past. Although we cannot pinpoint whether this is because of an increase in screenings, improved treatments or both, we can be certain that early detection makes for more effective treatments and consequently lowers mortality rates. In colorectal cancer for instance, symptoms may not manifest for years and by then it might be too late because the cancer has spread. Regular screening after 50 is the only way to find out sooner and increases a patient’s chances of getting better. Lack of health coverage or medical insurance or low income is one of the main reasons why people don’t get cancer screenings. The new Affordable Care Act makes many of these important preventive screenings more accessible. Recommended mammograms, colonoscopies and other cancer screenings will now be fully covered by medical insurance. Which means there is no deductible or co-payment involved (check your coverage with your insurance provider). This is a huge move by the government for  Americans to take better care of their health and avoid illness or get timely intervention. Many patients are also afraid of the pain and discomfort associated with cancer screenings. This either prevents them from being screened or coming for follow ups. People will be less skeptical if they are informed about using anesthesia to reduce/eliminate pain. Patients are usually sedated to make colonoscopies more tolerable, and it is not uncommon to administer sedation for a breast MRI especially if the patient has claustrophobia. Having a breast biopsy (removal of breast tissue for cancer screening) also involves the use of anesthetics. Examiners have a variety of sedative options to ease patient discomfort during cancer screenings but propofol usage or Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) delivers the best results. It takes effect right away and has little or no side effects, promoting faster recovery. This is extremely important as more positive patient outcomes encourage people to come back for follow-ups. Besides, the presence of a certified anesthesiologist or CRNA monitoring patient’s well-being throughout the procedure is comforting for the person undergoing the procedure and ensures quality care from the medical service provider. Steel City Anesthesia offers licensed CRNAs for cancer screenings. We have extensive experience with colonoscopies. Since we assign local anesthesia providers on a regular basis, our staff becomes familiar with your working style, increasing patient flow significantly. Steel City…

    16 Dec
    16 Dec