Share this stuff
What really happens to your Body when you are put under Anesthesia?
Every day, specialist doctors known as anesthetists (or, in the US, anesthesiologists) put hundreds of thousands of people into chemical comas to enable other specialist doctors to enter and alter our bodies. Researchers know that a general anesthesia act on the central nervous system – reacting with the slick membranes of the nerve cells in the brain to suspend responses such as sight, touch and awareness.
*Over the past 20 years, advances in anesthesia have dramatically improved patient safety and comfort during surgery. But even though intraoperative awareness is rare, its occurrence can be very disturbing and traumatic for some patients.
*In high-risk surgeries such as trauma and cardiac surgery Intraoperative awareness can occur, when the patient’s condition may not allow for the usual dose of anesthetic drugs to be given.
In those instances, the anesthesiologist will weigh the potential for awareness against the need and safety to guard the patient’s life.
That been said, doctors still have no way of knowing for sure how deeply an individual patient is anaesthetized, or even if that person is unconscious at all.
Anesthetics are convenient and help patients make a faster recovery, but they don’t necessarily prevent suffering during surgery.
Kate Cole mentioned in an article, that every time you have a general anesthetic, you take a trip towards death and back. The more hypnotics your doctor puts in, the longer you take to recover, and the more likely it is that something will go wrong. The less your doctor puts in, the more likely that you will wake. It is a balancing act, and anesthetists are very good at it. But it doesn’t alter the fact that for as long as anesthetists have been putting patients to sleep, they have been waking during surgery.
One patient we’ll call “Rachel” recalls her experienced when she was admitted to hospital, eight and a half months pregnant. She was conscious during the operation. She tried to let the doctors know at that point and tried moving but realized that she was completely paralyzed.
For “Rachel”, sleepless and terrified in her hospital room as she recalls, it was the beginning of years of nightmares, panic attacks and psychiatric therapy. Soon after she gave birth, her blood pressure soared. “I was in a hell of a state,” she noted.
Weeks after she returned home, she would have panic attacks, during which she felt she couldn’t breathe. Although she says the hospital acknowledged the mistake and the officials apologized to her, beyond that she does not recall getting any help from the institution, no explanation or counseling or offer of compensation. It did not occur to her to ask.
Should healthcare providers start educating staff about the problem?
‘I could hear things, and I could feel terrible pain’: when anesthesia fails
In 2006“The American Society of Anesthesiologists” subsequently acknowledged in a practice advisory article, that accidental intraoperative awareness, while rare, might be followed by “significant psychological sequelae, and affected patients may remain severely disabled for extended periods of time”.
Anesthesia has freed surgeons to saw like carpenters through the bony fortress of the ribs. It has made it possible for a doctor to hold in their hand a steadily beating heart. It is a powerful gift. But what exactly is it?
If the aim of general anesthesia is to ensure that a patient has no recognizable conscious recollection of their surgery and views the actual surgical operative period as a positive experience, then that requirement may be fulfilled.
However, the definition of general anesthesia, normally includes unconsciousness and freedom from pain during surgery, factors not presently guaranteed
However, in recent years there has been increasing reliance on new short acting intravenous anesthetic drugs with powerful amnesic side effects, such as midazolam and Propofol, probably the most popular intravenous anesthetic in the world.
Anaesthesia remains a mysterious and inexact science – and thousands of patients still wake up on the operating table every year.
These drugs have many benefits in today’s world of anesthesia. They allow for a smoother slide into unconsciousness and they pass through the body relatively quickly, they allow doctors and nurse anesthetists to give patients less anesthetic, thus having lower risk of drug related harm, and allowing patient to wake up quicker, and with less nausea. Anesthesiologists and patients love them overall
In an article by “Kate Cole-Adams” “Anesthesia remains a mysterious and inexact science, and thousands of patients still wake up on the operating table every year” it helped us to understand the struggles and the mystery that every anesthesiologist have undergone. As well as the patients that have memories of waking up in the middle of the operation but couldn’t understand what was happening. The need for psychologist intervention due to the post-operative effects that have changed them on living a normal life, the way they used to live.
In an interesting paper in 2015 by Japanese anesthetist Dr. Jiro Kurata, about the issue of anesthesia, he described as “care of the soul” he wondered if there might be “part of our existence that cannot ever be shut down, which we cannot even conceive by ourselves” a “subconscious self” that might be resistant to even high doses of anesthetics. He called this, the hard problem of anesthesia awareness
As we continue to raise questions and search for answers, we hold fast to science to lead us to solutions, not neglecting the inherent limitation of science and technology, but most importantly the inherent dignity and respect of our personal self.
Yes we are thankful for what we know, and remain curious towards what we don’t,
The question that comes to mind Is “what happened to those who did not survive anesthesia”? What was there experience before they passed?
Kate Cole-Adams; “The Guardian” (blog), December 5, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/feb/09/i-could-hear-things-and-i-could-feel-terrible-pain-when-anaesthesia-fails
Tired of the job you have now? Join us today! Come find the job you have always wanted.