By: 22 April 2024
Spinal anesthesiologist in Focus Q&A with Amy Shore

Amy Shore is a board-certified anesthesiologist and Medical Director at the DISC Surgery Center in Marina del Rey. With nearly two decades of experience, she specializes in spine and orthopaedic anaesthesia. Dr. Shore is particularly skilled in treating perioperative pain and postoperative nausea and vomiting through the use of customized treatment plans tailored to each patient. Journal of Anaesthesia Practice ask the questions


JAP: What led you to choose anesthesiology as a career, particularly focusing on spinal and orthopaedic anaesthesia?

AS: Anesthesiology remains one of the last areas of medicine that is still very much an art. As an anesthesiologist, I enjoy the privilege and responsibility of caring for people at their most vulnerable. My approach is tailored in real-time as I meet patients, responding to their psychological as well as medical needs. How I present myself and my concerns greatly impacts patients’ well-being and comfort. Spine and orthopaedic surgeries can be some of the most stressful procedures to undergo. Having worked in various geographic areas and practice settings, I’ve gathered a tremendous toolbox of anaesthetic techniques, including IV, inhalational, and ultrasound-guided regional techniques. I find great satisfaction in supporting patients through these stressful experiences by customizing their anaesthetic care.


JAP:  The healthcare industry has been greatly impacted by the pandemic. What has been the greatest impact for you within the anaesthesia industry?

AS: We’ve been experiencing a shortage in the field of anesthesiology for some time now. The pandemic accelerated this trend, pushing many anesthesiologists into retirement earlier than anticipated, worsening the shortage.


JAP: What’s the best part of your job?

AS: The best part of my job is my colleagues. The people we see day in and day out become our unofficial family. We support each other and take pride in our work and how we make patients feel. Providing care and attention to people brings us great pride.


JAP: … and the worst?

AS: The worst part is not always knowing what’s coming. As humans, it would be nice to foresee stressful days ahead. We do our best to manage risks, but sometimes even well-managed risks and optimized medical conditions can go awry.


JAP: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

AS: The highlight of my career has been opening up DISC MDR. It’s exciting to envision a new ASC model where anaesthesia representation exists on the ownership side. Anaesthesia protocols and the quality of preoperative services are often lacking because ASCs tend to be owned and operated by surgeons or investors who may not fully grasp the importance of high-quality anesthesia and perioperative practices.


JAP: Are you currently involved in any research or work with emerging technologies?

AS: I’m currently focusing on AI and how we can use it to tailor the anaesthetic experience for our patients.


JAP: Could you tell us more about the research and what it could mean for patient experience and outcomes?

AS: I can only say that it would allow clinicians to focus more on the human aspect of care. Over time, the digitalization of medical records has required time and attention, diminishing the vital human aspect of medical care. If AI becomes integrated into our world, I’d like to see it used positively.


JAP: Are you planning to attend any medical conferences or events this year?

AS: I’m hoping to attend the ASA in Philadelphia in August.


JAP: If you weren’t an anesthesiologist, what would you be?

AS: Hmm… I think I might have become a psychiatrist or therapist of some sort. I really enjoy connecting with people and feeling like I’m helping others feel loved and supported.


JAP: What would you tell your 21-year-old self?

AS: I would tell myself to spend more time not caring about what others think. Rediscovering lost parts of yourself is challenging. The best lives are lived most authentically.


JAP: If you were Health Minister for the day, what changes would you implement?

AS: There are so many things… If I could only do one, I might create national guidelines around treating iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy and postpartum women. Or I might ban social media for children under 18… Or mandate covered maternity leave… There are endless possibilities.


JAP: Away from the clinic and operating theatre, what do you do to relax?

AS: I love spending time in nature. I’m fortunate to live in Southern California, with plenty of sun and warm weather to enjoy. I’m happiest when instilling awe and wonder in my little ones. The ability to find beauty in nature is something that can never be taken away.


JAP: How do you think the future looks in the field of anesthesia, and what are your predictions for 2024 and the next decade?

AS: I believe the future is bright, despite staffing challenges. The next decade will likely see more inequality in access to care, making it crucial to continue improving risk stratification. Patients will play a more active role in their care, and we’ll have a greater responsibility to guide and inform them than ever before.