Questions to ask on whether ambulatory surgery center is appropriate for a patient

Ambulatory surgery centers are now a popular option for a large variety of procedures and surgeries.

In the past, patients had the sole option of going to a hospital operating room. Ambulatory or outpatient surgery centers were opened as an alternative to hospitals for low-risk patients having low-risk surgeries. More recently, though, ambulatory surgery centers have accepted higher-risk patients who were having more complex procedures.

From what we’ve learned from clients, some Texas surgeons and ambulatory surgery centers don’t spend much, if any time, discussing the added risks of having surgery outside a hospital setting.

Recently, Anesthesiology News published an article about how to identify patients appropriate for ambulatory surgery.

You may be wondering why an anesthesiology publication is addressing the patient population that’s appropriate for ambulatory surgery.

When anesthesia is part of the planned operating room care, the standard of care requires the anesthesia provider to conduct a pre-anesthetic assessment. Sometimes, anesthesia care is provided by an anesthesiologist physician. Other times, it’s a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) providing the anesthesia care. In Texas, CRNAs are medically directed or supervised by an anesthesiologist physician.

The main purpose of the pre-anesthetic evaluation is to determine if the patient’s medical condition is such that it’s safe to proceed with anesthesia and surgery. If an anesthesiologist or CRNA has concerns that going forward is too risky, they can hold up a stop sign. Sometimes, for example, the patient may need to have additional testing before receiving general anesthesia and undergoing surgery.

In addition to the general safety and appropriateness of a patient receiving anesthesiology and having surgery, Anesthesiology News recommends anesthesiologists and CRNAs ask these questions to help decide whether an ambulatory surgery center is safe for a particular case.

• Have you or a family member had a significant problem with anesthesia?

• What medications do you take?

• Have you been hospitalized in the last 30 days?

• Do you need help eating, bathing, or getting dressed?

• Have you had a myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack) in the last 60 days?

• Have you undergone a cardiac catheterization or received a coronary stent within the last six months?

• Can you walk four blocks briskly or up two flights of stairs without shortness of breath?

• Have you had a stroke in the last three months?

• Are you on dialysis?

• What other medical problems do you have?

I think these suggested questions are excellent. From a patient perspective, they give us an idea of the types of information that an anesthesiologist physician or CRNA nurse anesthetist may need to evaluate for the appropriateness of receiving anesthesia or having surgery.

If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor anesthesia care in Texas, then contact a top-rated and experienced Texas medical malpractice attorney for a free strategy session about your potential case.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.