Pediatric Anesthesia Article of the Day
How did this start?
As some of you already know I’ve been out of work since last July - little problem with AML, but on the mend now and planning to return to the OR this July (I don’t care who knows, we are all family). Sometime in January, in my spare time (literally every day) I composed a blog hosted by Rob Greenberg’s incredible website pedsanesthesia.net, called Monthly Journal Roundup of Pediatric Anesthesia articles. I envisioned a monthly blog where I summarize some interesting articles from the major journals. We publicized it on Twitter and Linkedin, and got a small, but nice response of encouragement. I then trialled a similar but daily version called “Pediatric Anesthesia Article of the Day”, distributed only to my own colleagues in my department. I became interested in that format after I subscribed to Heather Cox Richardson on a platform called substack. I really look forward to her daily roundups of politics and history in my inbox each morning. They are short and easy to read, great for commuting (not driving), or sitting in the OR (or somewhere else). I also believe that short daily bursts of information would be more likely to be read than a monthly version that takes 20 minutes to read. My colleagues enjoyed it (the few who subscribed), so I then started publicizing it to the pediatric anesthesia community, first in the U.S., and then internationally through friends and colleagues I had met through the years, and on Facebook groups.
Why am I doing this for free?
You will notice that there is no fee to subscribe. At some point in the future, I will ask people to voluntarily contribute a small amount a month, which will be 100% donated to a SPA research grant fund. (Believe me, I don’t want your money, and my SPA-sponsored FAER grant in the early 1990s jump-started my academic career). I really enjoy keeping up with the literature (I scan the tables of contents of about 50 journals every month) and educating others about pediatric anesthesia, statistics, medicolegal issues, medication safety, and malignant hyperthermia.
Will I do this every weekday, forever?
I don’t foresee doing this personally every day, but recruiting other pediatric anesthesiologists to help out (hint hint). I hope many of you will be excited to contribute. Please email me if interested (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Who Am I?
I’ve been an anesthesiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the past 20 years, and before that I began my career at the University of Rochester. See this blog from the Penn Resilience Project for a brief account of my humble beginnings. I never had the attention span to dedicate my career to one topic only. In the 1990’s under the mentorship of Denham Ward, the Chair at UR, my main research interests centered around upper airway collapsibility in anesthetized or sedated children, and my research contributed to the AAP’s Sedation Guidelines. In the aughts, under the mentorship of Henry Rosenberg, I transitioned my interests to malignant hyperthermia, and in 2013 became the first medical director of the MHAUS hotline (I stepped down from that role in 2019). During that time I was asked to help investigate the death of a healthy child during routine surgery. It turned out that he accidently received phenylephrine instead of ondansetron, which triggered my interest in perioperative medication safety. Hoping to learn more about federal and state regulatory law, I enrolled in the Masters of Law program at Penn, and through my work with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, I became their medical director. Along the way I was a member, and then Chair, of the FDA’s Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Product Advisory Committee (AADPAC) and an associate editor of Anesthesiology for about 7 years.
My wife Daphne is the love of my life. She and her wonderful kids Ethan and Becca have sacrificed enormously while taking care of me since last July.
And I’m incredibly proud of my twin sons. Cory works for a nonprofit organization called City Squash, where he teaches squash and mentors inner city kids in an amazing after-school program in the Bronx. Alan will be starting law school in the fall, and knows the importance of pro bono work and civil service.
Please follow me @DrRonLitman on Twitter, and look for a new edition of my book Basics of Pediatric Anesthesia, to be published by Elsevier in 2022.