Friday, July 24, 2020

Best of Both Worlds

Imagine a job where you get to practice medicine but don't have to go through medical school. Then while treating your patients you are not legally responsible for your actions if something goes wrong. On top of that you make more money than many actual physicians? What kind of dream job is this? A certified nurse anesthetist, of course.

Working as a CRNA just got a whole lot sweeter after a court in North Carolina declared that they are not responsible for their actions because they are really just a "nurse" who can't be held liable for what they do. This involves a tragic case of a three year old child who suffered a cardiac arrest and anoxic brain injury after the CRNA and physician anesthesiologist induced her with sevoflurane for a cardiac ablation. 

The anesthesiologist was able to settle the case out of court but the hospital and the CRNA went to trial. At the trial the judge found the CRNA not liable because of a 1932 ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court that said nurses are not responsible for their actions. As the judge wrote, "The Court reasoned that nurses 'are not supposed to be experts in the technique of diagnosis or the mechanics of treatment.'" Therefore the current appeals court could not rule against the precedent set by the NC Supreme Court, even if it occurred nearly 80 years ago.

So now CRNA's, at least in North Carolina, have the best of both worlds. They can claim they are just as skilled and intelligent as physician anesthesiologists. Yet when the s*** hits the fan, they can also claim they cannot be held liable because the courts said nurses are not experts in diagnosis or treatment.

Seriously who would want to be a physician anesthesiologist when CRNA's have the best job in the world


  1. The AANA and the ASA have long been the cats vs. dogs of the anesthesia galaxy Your post provides one of the reasons.

  2. Don't get your galactic metaphors mixed up. You mean more like Luke vs Vader or Picard vs the Borg.