There are surgeons for all surgical procedures; minor or major, elective or emergency, critical or non critical. For most of the patients the surgeons are the star performers or the superheroes.
Unfortunately very few of our patients are aware that there is another set of doctors who make sure that your surgeon remains the superhero in your eyes. These doctors keep you safe during the entire surgical procedure and they are called Anaesthesiologist.
An anaesthesiologist is a highly skilled specialist doctor who takes care of you when you are under the blade of a surgeon for any type of surgical procedure. Anaesthesiologists are the perioperative physician (Peri means “all-rounder”) who provide medical care for each patient through out their surgical experience. An anaesthesiologist’s job is to take care of their patients in such a way that they do not remember any painful part of the surgery, just the successful outcome.
According to American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA), anaesthesiology is defined as the practice of medicine dedicated to the relief of pain and total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.
Anaesthesiologists prepare the surgical patient to undergo the surgical stress, not only physically but as well as mentally. They monitor patients bodily functions, assess the best way to treat the vital organs and provide a balance of medications suited to the individual’s need. They make sure that patient’s vital organs are working in the same way as they were working before surgery. They keep a close eye all the time, to maintain the depth of anaesthesia so you can remain safe under the surgical blade. They make you sleep and make sure that when you wake up, you are pain-free after the trauma of surgical procedure. These specialist physicians do not only take care of the anaesthetised patient but also provide the ideal condition for safe and successful surgery.
A new survey found that 5 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe, affordable anaesthesia and surgical care. In India we have only one anaesthesiologist for every one hundred thousand individuals.
However, these highly skilled professionals play a much wider role than just putting people to sleep for surgery. They have also spread their wings beyond the four walls of the operation theatre.
Anaesthesiologist who work in critical care (ICU) are known intensivist.
Anaesthesiologists are also the lynchpin in:-
- Chronic pain management
- Obstetrics pain management (Labour analgesia)
- Palliative care management
- Emergency management
- Disaster management
It is said that “anaesthesiologist is a physician to a surgeon and a surgeon to a physician.”
You can compare the work of an anaesthesiologist to that of an airplane pilot: Even though their work typically goes smoothly, but they are prepared for any eventuality. Each one can be extremely rare but of critical importance