Anaesthesia ( Greek αν- an- “without” + αἲσθησις aisthesis “perception”)
"The state should, I think, be called 'anesthesia.' This signifies insensibility."
William Thomas Green Morton
Things can go wrong untimely , especially in Anaesthesia. Everytime one signs consent for an operation , there are two possible complications ; complications from the surgery or anaesthesia . However , many take it for granted that being under anaesthesia is safer than the surgery itself. An "A" will always be an "A" - first and foremost. Going unconscious for a surgery can be for eternity . More over if it was unexpected.
We lost a 1 month old baby yesterday. It happened to a colleague of mine - I only heard the incident when it was over ; myself trapped during that time doing a laparotomy in my emergency list. I was shocked to hear the news ; especially when the cause of mortality was directly linked to anaesthesia. The baby just collapsed and not revivable after induction. Everything just had to abide to Murphy's Law yesterday afternoon.
It was supposed to be a simple surgical procedure. It was an elective case ; where things are least expected to go wrong. It was supposed to be short and sweet. Clinically , the first child of a young couple was perfectly healthy and thriving as how a one month old baby should be. She was supposed to be fed very soon as she was crying in hunger before she entered the theatre.Her father signed the consent with humour the day before , asking my colleague.. " Nothing will go wrong right ? ". Who would have thought , the last smile the baby gave before going under anaesthesia was the last to be glanced by her mother.
The whole operating theatre complex was in a somber mood when i pushed my patient to the recovery area. Her parents were hysterical..unconsolable. My colleagues who were the carers were such in a distress state ; jotting down what had happened and filling in the post mortem form. The surgeons were left wondering on what went wrong as they witnessed the takings of angel of death.
I've heard stories before , but this incident happened so close to me ; scary and traumatic as it could have been me. Not just as the anaesthetist but imagine being in her parents' shoes.
People's life in your hands everyday... why did i take up this job ?