Thursday, February 4, 2010


I've spent an afternoon with an anaesthetist in theatre, so I am pretty much an expert now. I don't read up before our lecture, because I've been there and seen it all first-hand. I am ready for any questions that might come my way.

And so the "lecture" begins. It can hardly be called a lecture - there are nine students, sitting around the table, and an anaesthetist. This would be a scary situation, if I were less prepared. The anaesthetist rocks back in his chair and starts talking about the history of anaesthetics. The specialty has come a long way since medieval times, when copious amounts of alcohol were used to control the pain of surgery. I have seen a documentary on anaesthetics, so I know all of this - I could be teaching the class about Wells and his nitrous oxide, about Morton and his ether.

So when the anaesthetist turns to us and starts asking questions, I am ready. Here it comes, the first question: "What are the stages of anaesthesia?" Oh. I remember the intern trying to explain these to me. He couldn't remember them all and I made a mental note to look them up. And then I lost my note.

Never mind, next question: "What are the commonly used anaesthetic agents?" Oooh! Nitrous oxide gas! And ... clear stuff ... and ... uh, white stuff.

"Possible complications of anaesthesia?" I have spent whole minutes giving airway support, so I hazard a guess at 'apnoea'. What was that? There are more? Air embolism? Malignant hyperthermia, you say? What's that?
Oh ... time to go and study.

1 comment:

PTR said...

Noooo - don't do it! Don't study! That takes all the fun out of it!