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Debate over who should be allowed to administer anesthesia moves to courts

The New York Times, May 3, 2012

Whether nurses should be allowed to administer anesthesia without doctor supervision has been playing out here and around the country in recent months. In Colorado the issue has prompted a legal battle. Since Colorado’s rural hospitals were exempted from the supervision regulation in 2010, some medical facilities that may not have employed anesthesiologists have been able to attract specialists because there is no longer a concern about who would administer anesthesia or supervise, said Scott K. Shaffer, president of the nurse anesthetists association in Colorado. In 2010, anesthesiologist and medical societies filed a lawsuit in state court asserting that allowing nurse anesthetists to deliver anesthesia without supervision was not consistent with state law, a requirement for opting out of the federal rule.