Imagine if you will, a sterile operating room, you laying there on a very hard surgical bed with the thin, cotton, opened in the backside gown and your feet in those fetching socks with the no skid bars, and in walks ...a robot.
If global health behemoth Johnson & Johnson has their way, your local anesthesiologist is going to be the next victim of technology, like the newspaper, travel agent and typewriter.
Sedasys, which dispenses propofol and monitors a patient automatically, was recently approved for use in healthy adult patients who have no particular risk of complications.
Johnson & Johnson will lease the machines to doctor’s offices for $150 per procedure -- well below the $600 to $2,000 that anesthesiologists charge.
J&J claims that in 1,700 trials, no patients have required rescue by an anesthesiologist.
More interesting is the speed in which the Food and Drug Administration granted approval in part on data showing that the system reduced the risks associated with over-sedation.
The doctors are facing Draconian changes in their alliances with insurers and Obamacare is forcing huge cost-cutting in all areas of medicine. Many chronically ill people are waking up to find their doctors are no longer part of their inurance plan. Advocates claim these 'Bots will save billions in healthcare costs. Others, including doctors, are not so enthused.
The fear is machine versus man is the path for the future in medicine. Not just for colonoscopies, but for more and more procedures. The health-care cost curve bends, and many doctors will face real financial problems.
Dr. Damon Raskin is a double board certified internist and men's health specialist who spoke to Monsters and Critics about this futuristic (yet here now) trend to replace doctors with robots.
"These new devices seem like they have their place in medicine. They can be helpful for the physician and for the patient, and it never hurts to know vital signs in advance of an office visit for example. In cases where patients are unable to come in to the office, some of these devices may give the doctor additional information that might help with a diagnosis. However, the doctor-patient relationship and face-to-face interaction cannot be replicated by technology. This relationship, when used correctly, can both empower the patient and help in the healing process."
"As far as the robot anesthesiologist, I would still prefer a human who graduated medical school and with gut instincts from real world experience to manage my sedation. I'm sure my patients would agree."
Americans are facing the realities that big government is taking over more health care spending and decisions, and the drones may be the cost-cutting path insurers embrace to keep costs down.
Talk back, would you feel comfortable having a robot sedate you?