Lillian Donahue’s July 10 article, “Governor Signs ‘Finley’s Law’ to Make Dental Sedation for Kids Safer,” brings good news for children, parents and dentists alike. However, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) believes this should be just the first step in better protecting children while they are at the dentist office.
When it comes to the health and well-being of our youngest and most vulnerable members of society, we cannot be anything less than stridently vigilant in our care of them as patients. While “Finley’s Law” makes important advances in the dental anesthesia care of our children, it doesn’t go far enough.
Finley’s law requires that licensed dentists must either post their qualifications for administering the various types of anesthesia prominently in their office for all to see, or employ an anesthesia professional, such as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), to be on site for the procedure and remain until the patient is released to go home.
The AANA, however, recommends the law go further to require an anesthesia professional be the one to administer and monitor dental anesthesia. In its recently published position statement, “Dental Office Sedation and Anesthesia Care,” AANA states:
“Deep sedation and general anesthesia for dental procedures is safest when provided by a qualified, licensed anesthesia professional, who is not simultaneously engaged in the dental procedure. When sedation or anesthesia services are required, the use of anesthesia professionals, with delineated responsibilities, allows each team member to focus on his or her role for best outcomes and patient safety.”
The AANA applauds Hawaiian lawmakers for passing this important law. It is our hope that they will now more strongly emphasize saving children’s lives by requiring an anesthesia professional be the one to administer anesthesia in dental offices and to be available for emergency care should it be needed.
Cheryl L. Nimmo, DNP, MSHSA, CRNA