DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that advanced-practice nurses can administer anesthesia without a doctor's supervision.
The ruling the prompted a warning by doctors that patients could suffer serious medical complications and receive inadequate care.
Hospitals said the move was necessary because there aren't enough doctors, and the crisis will only get worse as the country adapts to new health care laws that open the doors to millions of new patients.
Colorado Society of Anesthesiologists spokesman Dr. Randall Clark countered that the ruling provides an opportunity for hospitals to cut costs by turning over more responsibility to nurses to perform advanced medical treatment without supervision.
Hospitals say the ruling will not jeopardize patient care, and cutting costs will help patients. The practice has been approved by state officials.
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