In Reply: I am not now, nor have I ever been,
a card-carrying anesthesiologist. In no sense am I qualified to evaluate the
technical aspects of the treatment Ms G received—nor did I do so. Nonetheless,
I am not prepared to abjure my right to assess the behavior of anesthesiologists
as fellow physicians.
If the first anesthesiologist was incompetent when he recommended lidocaine
(as implied in the letters from Drs Aye and Morell and colleagues), then the
second was surely correct in refusing to use it; nonetheless, he should have
informed the patient before, not after, the treatment. Aye, in defending anesthesiologists,
suggests that the patient may have been informed, but failed to remember because
of preoperative sedation. If Aye is correct, then my criticism is without
substance. The case report, all I had available to me, mentions no such claim.
Post hoc, it provides an all-too-easy rationalization. And Dr Daley provides
evidence to the contrary.