Sep 3, 2010 12:17 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Gov. Ritter could allow nurses to give anesthesia

Colorado could join 15 other states in allowing advanced-practice nurses to administer anesthesia without a doctor's supervision.

The Denver Post reports Gov. Bill Ritter is leaning toward making the change to help rural hospitals who don't have anesthesiologists on staff. A decision is expected in the next two weeks.

Anesthesiologists are fighting the proposal, saying it would put lives at risk.

Rural hospitals that don't have anesthesiologists currently allow nurse specialists to administer anesthesia under a doctor's supervision.

However, they say doctors are wary of taking on that responsibility. The 15 other states that don't require doctor supervision are primarily Western and rural, including Montana and Idaho.


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