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Anesthesia program placed on probation

The USF anesthesiology program’s accreditation could be in jeopardy after its national accrediting agency put the program on probation in March.

Peter Fabri, associate dean for graduate medical education at USF, told the St. Petersburg Times that the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education applied the probation because of claims of patient negligence and a lack of supervision for student residents at Tampa General Hospital.

Fabri could not be reached this weekend. He told the Times that the probation does not mean the anesthesia at the hospital or the hospital service are unsafe.

However, if conditions are not improved by winter, when inspectors are expected to visit next, the program’s accreditation could be revoked. That would mean residents could no longer enroll in anesthesiology; present residents would be allowed to finish.

Only four anesthesiology programs in Florida, including USF’s, are accredited and train residents, or doctors finished with medical school but needing additional training.

There was supposed to be one doctor for every two anesthesiology residents, but sometimes the ratio was closer to one doctor for every three.

One resident complained that the other residents did not check on patients after the patients’ surgeries.

“There is nothing to cause anyone to think there is anything unsafe about anesthesia at any of our hospitals,” Fabri said in the Times. “It had nothing to do with the quality of patient care, nothing to do with the quality of education.”

Fabri said that council inspectors found 10 violations, but after officials at USF disagreed, the counts were narrowed to five. He added that the problems had been taken care of in the meantime.

The other three citations involved not turning in documents dealing with curriculum in a timely manner, not revealing how anesthesiologists were placed in a hospital and residents not going to education conferences because they were with patients, according the Times.