“I was just getting into the operation theatre to administer anaesthesia to a child, when his father stopped me, and told me how his older son had died a couple of years ago following high fever four days after being administered anaesthesia during a surgery,” recalled M. Vasanthi, professor (anaesthesia), Government Royapettah Hospital(GRH), on Friday.

The medical history of the deceased child revealed that the cause of death was malignant hyperpyrexia, a hereditary disorder when controlling the body temperature becomes extremely difficult. It was the timely intervention of his father that saved his second child’s life, Dr. Vasanthi pointed out.

History taking, she emphasised, was vital in every field of medicine including anaesthesia. The doctor was speaking at a public programme on anaesthesia organised in commemoration of World Anaesthesia Day at the GRH.

The Chief Guest on the occasion, Mayor M. Subramanian, said advances in the field of medical science had made administering anaesthesia much easier. Talking about myths that people generally associate with anaesthesia, he said awareness programmes and interaction with doctors and anaesthetists would help patients a great deal.

Since anaesthesia covered a whole range of medical disciplines from paediatrics to geriatrics and every kind of surgery, an anaesthetist needs to know a bit about all surgical specialities and needs to be on her toes even after the surgery, Dr. Vasanthi said.

Many complications, from morbidity to mortality that occur during surgeries, were not necessarily due to anaesthetics, but because of a variety of medical and surgical problems. “We are alert and awake to see if the patient is asleep and comfortable but it is important that patients understand our role in the outcome of surgeries,” she added.

Delivering his presidential address, K. Thiyagarajan, director, GRH, appealed to the State for financial assistance in improving the infrastructure of the hospital, especially the Intensive Care Unit, to meet the increasing number of serious cases. An audiovisual presentation and a quiz on anaesthesia were part of the awareness drive.

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MeetSeptember 24, 2010

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