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Anesthesiology/Anesthesiology and Government


I am interested in becoming an anesthesiologist, and will be heading to college this fall to major in chemistry. I have a few questions, and was looking for some answers on the how the government is affecting health care, as well as what I should be prepared for in the next ten to fifteen years when I am entering the field.

1)I realize that there are several ways to be qualified to administer anesthesia; why did you decided to become a M.D. over a Nurse Anesthetist or D.O.?

2)What courses in your undergraduate studies prepared you for the administering of anesthesia?

3)What is the typical policy for an anesthesiologist and taking a sabbatical?

4)I have shadowed an anesthesiologist, and due to Medicare and Medicaid, he stated that he sometimes must go to work and lose money due to malpractice insurance and office fees. Due to the new health care reforms, what is the worst effect on an anesthesiologist?

5)What other cost hikes and government reforms am I to expect in the coming years when I become an anesthesiologist that I should be aware of?

Please excuse the delay in answering your excellent questions!:

1.  MDs and DOs are pretty much equivalent degrees these days in the US.  I always wanted to go to medical school/nursing was not a consideration of mine.  At the time, anesthesiology and its concentration on physiology and pharmacology looked most inviting.

2.  As an undergrad, one's primary course of study may be anything in which you find compelling, that you can do with excellence and that may be helpful in a scientific career;  at this stage specifics to the administration of anesthesia are not important.  For example, if you like chemistry then learn it better than anyone else in your class, go the extra mile, etc.   If chemistry does not turn out the way you'd anticipated, then then same advice applies to psychology or history or English literature---all majors of highly successful people with whom I went to medical school.

3.  Sabbatical?  You haven't even started yet!  But, in general, one would give sufficient time for one's business partners to locate coverage for your responsibilities then proceed.  This is more of a contractual matter than one that's peculiar to medicine or anesthesia.

4.  As in all areas of medicine:  Someone other than a physician making medical decisions.  Answers to this and question #5 can best be found by regularly reading and reviewing the archives at the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons website:


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JM Starkman, MD


Over twenty-five years of adult and pediatric, inpatient and outpatient clinical anesthesia practice--some private, some group.

American Association of Physicians and Surgeons. My county medical society.

[not a researcher]

American medical school graduate. Board Certified. Fellowship trained Cardiovascular and Pediatric anesthesia subspecialist.

Past/Present Clients
Over 20,000 anesthetics, the majority of which have been personally managed, with less than 5% consisting of supervising nurse anesthetists or in-training resident physicians.

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