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Md. needs more, not fewer, certified medical professionals

I was dismayed by Jacqueline C. Mitchell's recent letter suggesting that certified anesthesiologist assistants don't have the training to work collaboratively with physicians and nurse anesthetists ("No room for error in the operating room," Feb. 2).

It is important to note that all certified anesthesiologist assistants complete a four-year premedical undergraduate curriculum and take advanced science, technology, engineering and math coursework.

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Certified anesthesiologist assistant programs are affiliated with medical schools, and they receive graduate level training directly from physician anesthesiologists that culminates in the award of a master's degree.

Finally, like physicians, CAAs are tested by the National Board of Medical Examiners, regulated by state medical boards and must complete a rigorous recertification process. The real danger to Maryland patients is that they don't currently have access to these highly trained medical professionals.

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Shane Angus, Washington, D.C.

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