GV Health anaesthetists took some time out of their busy schedules to recognise World Anaesthesia Day on October 16 by educating staff and the public on just what anaesthesia is.
World Anaesthesia Day recognises one of the most important events in the history of medicine, the first successful demonstration of ether anaesthesia on October 16, 1846 at the Massachusetts General Hospital, home of the Harvard School of Medicine.
Anaesthetics are often the biggest, single specialty in any hospital, and more than 60 per cent of all hospital inpatients will see an anaesthetist. And while it seems quite a common practice there is a lot more to it than simply putting someone to sleep.
GV Health Anaesthetist Specialist, Dr John Hay explains this year’s topic “Anaesthesia isn’t sleep. It’s so much deeper”.
“So last year was about obesity and the problems of obesity and this year’s topic is about it’s just not sleep,” Dr Hay said.
“If you are sick and unwell and have medical problems, it’s not just going off to sleep its lots more involved.
“An anaesthetist looks after all your bodily functions. We look after your heart, your blood pressure, we make sure you are breathing, we give you agents and some anaesthetics to cause muscle relaxation to help the surgeons but it also means that you don’t breathe, so it’s our job to breathe for you.
“We also provide analgesia pain relief during the procedure as well to look after the surgical stimulus that you are experiencing.
“So it’s not just making someone sleep,” he said.
There are different types of anaesthetic administered depending on the type of procedure being undertaken including general anaesthesia, local anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia, procedural sedation, conscious sedation and analgesia.
Dr Day said that it is important for the public to know about anaesthetics because people are getting sicker and operation are now being done on older patients.
“Anaesthesia is a specialty where the surgeons come up with an operation they want to do and it’s the anaesthesia that has to allow the surgeons to do that operation.
“Back in the day before anaesthesia surgeons were limited to amputations and very quick operations without anaesthetic or any pain relief.
“Nowadays we are doing very complex surgery that requires the patient to be still, comfortable to enable the surgeons to do their work.
“So it’s about educating people about that, healthy lifestyle choices and educating them that they are going to be looked after by a specialist doctor during their surgery,” Dr Day said.