An expert panel comprised of ambulance chasing, blood sucking lawyers and that one snotty dude from med school published a revised ASA physical status classification this afternoon to reflect the increasingly litigious landscape of modern medicine. The new scale adds to the narrative descriptions provided in the initial consensus classification, and includes an expert panel’s estimation of the likelihood that a given practitioner may or may not be subpoenaed, provided that his/her patient croaks during surgery. The revised scale is as follows:
ASA1 – if this patient dies, you will be double sued (200% risk)
ASA2 – if this patient is under the age of 80 and dies, you will be sued (100% risk); however, patients over the age of 80 have lived a good long life, so their family members may accept that you murdered their loved by accident, rather than malice (25-50% risk)
ASA3 – if this patient dies, no one will be particularly surprised, but they might feel it happened about sooner than expected (25% risk); in the event that you are sued, it is advised that you refer to the patient as a “bitter clinger” in deposition
ASA4 – if this patient dies, you may be thanked by the family members; that said, keeping this patient alive may get you sued (10-15% risk)
ASA5 – keeping this patient alive is an act of God; however, in the event that this patient is an IV drug user to whom you gave narcan, you will be threatened to be triple sued. That lawsuit will not materialize. (0% risk)
ASA6 – there is nothing you can do to this patient to get sued. Go nuts.
The expert panel concluded that the E-modifier—used to designate emergency surgeries—conferred protection against litigation in cases where the patient was clearly pursuing a Darwin Award, e.g., an ASA1 doing high speed wheelies on a crotch rocket during rush hour without a helmet while drunk. For litigation purposes, this patient is considered an ASA6 until s/he sells the motorcycle or becomes an ASA6.