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Law Proposed for Anesthesiologists

June 16, 1985

In regard to the article, "State Examining Anesthesiologist's Role in 2 Cases," (Southeast/Long Beach sections, June 2), legislation should be enacted requiring hospitals to have their insurance coverage include all anesthesiologists practicing at their hospitals. Such a requirement would give hospitals greater self-interest in screening and evaluating anesthesiologists prior to giving them staff privileges. Surely this would benefit patients, for whom all hospitals exist.

Other legislation that would be beneficial deals with the use of life-sustaining procedures to artificially prolong life. Such situations are most prevalent in care and treatment of the elderly, of which I am one. I believe that anyone admitted to a hospital should be provided with a copy of a Living Will and an explanation of its purpose. This would enable a patient, in consultation with the family, to make an informed decision as to whether the patient desired to have his or her life prolonged artificially when death is imminent.

There is precedent for such a proposal by way of analogy. The federal truth-in-lending-laws require pre-disclosure of interest rates, costs and other financial information by a lender or upon the opening of a charge account. In California, other statutes have disclosure requirements to afford the opportunity for an informed decision on other financial matters. Should anything less be appropriate when dealing with one's very life?

--BYRON BERG

Downey

Berg is a retired lawyer and the father of David Berg, who suffered irreversible brain damage during surgery. The younger Berg was featured in the June 2 article.

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