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ETHICS IN MEDICINE   University of Washington School of Medicine

Interdisciplinary Team Issues:
Case 1

An otherwise healthy 54-year-old man presents for radical retropubic prostatectomy, and expresses interest to his anesthesiologist in having postoperative epidural narcotic pain management. The anesthesiologist believes it provides superior pain control, but is informed by the surgeon that the patient "is not to have an epidural."

Is the anesthesiologist obliged to "take an order" from the surgeon?
Should the anesthesiologist provide the anesthetic he feels is best, regardless of the surgeon's input?

Discussion

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