Newswise — NEW YORK – The New York State Society of Anesthesiologists (NYSSA) called upon members of the Legislature to oppose a bill that endangers patient safety. The legislation A.0442/S.1385 (Paulin/Gallivan) fails to establish even the most basic parameters of acceptable practice of a health care professional by using the title "Nurse Anesthetist" to administer anesthesia, creating ambiguity in anesthesia standards within healthcare settings where anesthesia is administered (hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and physician offices).

"Multiple problems can arise when administering anesthesia, and it can be surprising and fast-acting. In these situations, life and death decisions must be made in seconds" stated Dr. Rose Berkun, NYSSA President. She asserts, "it should be a physician, who makes those decisions."

Physician anesthesiologists' education and training can mean the difference between life and death. They have 12 to 14 years of education, including medical school, and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training to specialize in anesthesia care and pain control with the necessary knowledge to understand and treat the entire human body. Nurses have about half the education and almost 2,500 hours of clinical training. It just doesn't compare. "We have come so far in our underserved communities creating a high standard of care. This bill puts that at risk," stated Dr. Vilma Joseph, NYSSA Board Member and Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.

In 2012 similar legislation was vetoed, finding that the certification, registration or licensure or professions involved in the administration must require a higher standard to protect patients. The legislation must address "critical issues such as scope of practice, supervision and the oversight role" the state's education department would have.

"It should not be a guess by the patient, or ambiguous by law on who is in charge of providing anesthesia," stated Dr. Berkun, "in fact Senator Deputy Majority Leader Senator Defrancisco and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle have already introduced such a bill S.4422/A.1829 (DeFrancisco/Morelle) which provides meaningful 'Title' for nurse anesthetists, provides physician supervision and preserves safe anesthesia care in New York State."

New York's patients deserve to know, prior to surgery and sedation, the roles of the physician anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist to ensure they know who is accepting legal and medical responsibility for their anesthesia care, and who will be responding to critical patient needs during surgery. The legislation as proposed offers no statutory guidance.

According to a recent survey almost 90 percent say they want a physician to administer anesthesia, and respond to anesthesia emergencies during surgery.



Founded in 1905, The New York State Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc. (NYSSA), is an organization of physicians and scientists dedicated to advancing the specialty of anesthesiology and providing the safest and highest quality patient care to the citizens of New York State.



Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology.  ASA is committed to ensuring that physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during, and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care that every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit

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