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For Patients

The California Society of Anesthesiologists, like the American Society for Anesthesiologists, is an advocate for all patients who require anesthesia or relief from pain. The ASA states, “Anesthesiologists are considered the medical experts in patient safety before, during, and following surgical and diagnostic procedures.”

The California Society of Anesthesiologists wishes to further patients’ understanding about the practice of anesthesiology and what to expect while under an anesthesiologist’s care.

There are many resources on anesthesia, anesthesiologist, pain medicine, and more. While we list many below, we encourage you to check out a few of our patient resources here:

Role of the Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists and pain medicine specialists are on the front lines of fighting the opioid epidemic.

They are leading experts in utilizing non-opioid pain medicine options including interventional procedures and non-pharmacological approaches.

They work with patients to implement tailored pain management plans to ensure optimal recovery.

Learn More

Safe Opioid Use

The opioid epidemic is a crisis that impacts all communities and demographic groups. The CSA supports ensuring that patients who truly need opioids to treat their pain have appropriate access, while we work to expand knowledge about non-opioid medications, techniques, and resources available to the medical community and patients for optimal pain control.

CSA has created a 3-minute animated video to educate patients and their caregivers about strategies to manage post-surgical pain and safely take opioids at home if they are prescribed.

Learn More

Fentanyl Resources

With rising awareness of the fentanyl crisis, there are increasing questions from patients about what sort of opioids are used in pain medicine and during surgery. There are serious dangers of fentanyl poisoning from fake pills and other illicit drugs – and fentanyl remains the most dangerous drug threat in our country. But it is important for patients to understand how fentanyl is safely used in a medical setting as part of an anesthetic treatment plan, and how it differs from street drugs.

CSA has created this patient handout and a poster for use in a hospital or clinic to help improve understanding of the safety of medical fentanyl.

Learn More

Additionally, the CSA especially encourages all patients to visit the ASA’s Web site Lifeline to Modern Medicine, which contains relevant and important information regarding anesthesia safety, including patient stories, a video library, news articles, and patient FAQs.

Patients may also find the following Web resources helpful:

Who is Providing Anesthesia?

When Seconds Count…Physician Anesthesiologists Save Lives.™

Choosing an Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists: Physicians Specializing in the Patient Experience

Physician Anesthesiologists Do More Than Just “Put You to Sleep”

Anesthesia Care Team

What’s the difference? Anesthesiology Assistant versus Nurse Anesthetist

FAQ: Should nurses be able to practice independently? The importance of anesthesia training

Nurses Are Not Doctors (Anesthesiologists Are)

Anesthesiologists as ‘Air Traffic Controllers of the OR’

It’s not by drugs alone that physician anesthesiologists can reduce patient anxiety and make them feel good about their experience in the hospital. Patient education provided by these specialists is beginning to show improvement on an important key indicator for at least one hospital: patient satisfaction.

Preparing for a Procedure Requiring Anesthesia

What to Do Before Given Anesthesia

10 Questions to Ask Before Anesthesia

Having Surgery? Here’s How to Manage Your Medications

Your Stay in the ICU: What Patients and Families Should Know About Intensive Care After Surgery

What You Don’t Know About Pain Can Hurt You

Anesthesia Risk Assessment Tool
Drs. Lynnus Peng and John MacCarthy have developed a helpful Anesthesia Risk Assessment tool that can help you determine what questions you should ask your anesthesiologist before your surgery. 

Patient’s Checklist for Office-Based Procedures
Handy checklist from the Institute for Safety in Office-Based Procedures. Learn what to ask before having an office-based procedure.

Patients Suffering from Chronic Pain Should Question Certain Tests and Treatments
A list of five targeted, evidence-based recommendations that can support conversations between patients and physician anesthesiologists about what care is really necessary, was released by ASA as part of the ABIM Foundation’s Choose Wisely campaign.

Spinal Anesthesia Offers Many Benefits for Surgery


10 Things To Know About Anesthesia And Heart Surgery


Q&A on Preeclampsia and Developmental Delay

How Pregnant Moms Can Help Catch Preeclampsia 

Laboring Under Misconceptions: Epidural Myths May Keep Women from Reliable Pain Management

Epidurals and Reduced Postpartum Depression: An Interview with CSA’s Dr. Mark Zakowski

How to Recover Quickly and Avoid Chronic Pain After a C-Section

Managing Pregnancy-Related Complications: An Interview With CSA Member Dr. Mark Zakowski

Study Suggests Misplaced Fears in Longer Childbirths, Feb 05


What Parents Should Know Before Their Child Has Surgery

Parents and Their Doctors Should Consider How Urgently Surgery Is Required for Children Younger Than 3 Years

Pain Medicine

Women’s Pain Update (Infographic)

Health Coverage/Insurance

Covered California

Frequently Asked Patient Questions About Covered California

Patient Awareness

The ASA Patient Awareness brochure explains anesthesiologists’ ongoing efforts to deal with the very rare condition of unintended patient awareness under general anesthesia.

ASA video about patient awareness (also referred to as intraoperative awareness) 

The 2006 CSA House of Delegates adopted the following:

CSA Statement on Intraoperative Awareness

The CSA expresses its concern for any patient who experiences awareness under general anesthesia. While such awareness is a rare event, it is an area of discussion in the public arena. It is the intent of the CSA to educate and inform our patients and the public on the issue of intraoperative awareness in a straightforward manner.

Anesthesiologists are trained to minimize the occurrence of awareness under general anesthesia. It is recognized that on rare occasions, usually associated with a patient’s critical condition, this may be unavoidable. Furthermore, it is commonplace in contemporary anesthetic practice to employ a variety of techniques using regional nerve blocks and varying degrees of sedation. Patients often do not make a distinction between these techniques and general anesthesia, yet awareness is often expected and anticipated with the former. This may have led to a misunderstanding of “awareness” during surgery by many patients.

Educación pública: La anestesia y usted…

(Se reimprimiá con la autorización de: Sociedad Texas de Anestesiólogos y Sociedad Americana de Anestesiólogos)

In addition, the CSA has obtained permission from the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists and the ASA to reprint several of the patient education papers that have been prepared in Spanish. You may access these papers below.

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