Anaesthesiologists vital to healthcare delivery

– GPHC Head of Surgery

The Guyana Anaesthesiologist Society has been highlighting the vital role anaesthesiologists play in healthcare delivery.

The Society created an interactive space to educate the public about that role at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) on Friday as part of local observances marking World Anaesthesia Day.

President of the Guyana Anaesthesiologist Society, Dr. Onica Higgins said while most people know that a patient must be ‘put under anaesthesia’ for surgery, there is a dearth of knowledge about the expansive roles of anaesthetic staff. That prompted the setup of an information desk at the GPHC to chat with patients and visitors on the subject. 

“We created pamphlets to hand out to the layman or the patients. We also have some of our anaesthesia equipment on the desk that we explain to anyone that comes along,” Dr. Higgins said.

According to the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA), “Anaesthesiology is the practice of medicine dedicated to the total care of the patient before, during and after surgery.” Anaesthesiologists are all-round physicians who are “experts in resuscitation, pain management and intensive care,” the WFSA states.

At the GPHC, the anaesthetic staff complement also includes an anaesthetic nurse who assists in the administration of anaesthesia during surgery.

“Nobody appreciates anaesthesia more than a surgeon because without good anaesthesia there is no good surgery,” Dr. Chetanand Mahadeo, Head of Department of Surgery at the GPHC said. “It’s not just putting the patient to sleep and waking the patient up; its everything that happens in between to make sure this patient wakes up in a good enough state to get back to a life of normalcy,” he explained.

Dr. Mahadeo said surgeons are grateful for their anaesthetic staff.

“We can’t say thank you enough for taking care of our patients while we do [our jobs]. While the patient is asleep, you guys are battling at the head of the table, so we do recognise our anaesthesia colleagues as an indispensable part of our care of the surgical patients,” he said.

World Anaesthesia Day is held to commemorate William Morton’s first successful demonstration of ether anaesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital on October 16, 1846. Dr. Morton, a dentist, demonstrated the inhalation of ether vapour as a means of overcoming pain during surgery. World Anaesthesia Day was originally referred to as ‘Ether Day’.

This year’s observances were held under the theme “Occupational wellbeing of the Anaesthesiologist.”

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