Special Articles  |   September 2018
Critical Role of the Surgeon–Anesthesiologist Relationship for Patient Safety
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Submitted for publication March 14, 2018. Accepted for publication May 22, 2018.
    Submitted for publication March 14, 2018. Accepted for publication May 22, 2018.×
  • This article is being simultaneously published in the September 2018 issues of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and Anesthesiology.
    This article is being simultaneously published in the September 2018 issues of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and Anesthesiology.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Cooper: 290 Tappan St., Brookline, Massachusetts 02445. jcooper@mgh.harvard.edu. Information on purchasing reprints may be found at www.anesthesiology.org or on the masthead page at the beginning of this issue. Anesthesiology’s articles are made freely accessible to all readers, for personal use only, 6 months from the cover date of the issue.
Article Information
Special Articles / Patient Safety
Special Articles   |   September 2018
Critical Role of the Surgeon–Anesthesiologist Relationship for Patient Safety
Anesthesiology 9 2018, Vol.129, 402-405. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002324
Anesthesiology 9 2018, Vol.129, 402-405. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002324
Abstract

Teamwork is now recognized as important for safe, high-quality perioperative care. The relationship in each surgeon–anesthesiologist dyad is perhaps the most critical element of overall team performance. A well-functioning relationship is conducive to safe, effective care. A dysfunctional relationship can promote unsafe conditions and contribute to an adverse outcome. Yet, there is little research about this relationship, about what works well or not well, what can be done to optimize it. This article explores functional and dysfunctional aspects of the relationship, identifies some negative stereotypes each profession has of the other and calls for research to better characterize and understand how to improve working relationships. Suggestions are given for what an ideal relationship might be and actions that surgeons and anesthesiologists can take to improve how they work together. The goal is safer care for patients, and more joy and meaning in work for surgeons and anesthesiologists.