Anesthesia and its relevance on World Anesthesia Day 2020
World anesthesia day, also known as Ether day is celebrated on October 16 every year to commemorate first public demonstration of anesthesia in 1846 by William T.G. Morton at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston in USA using ether as an inhalational anesthetic agent for removal of jaw tumor. This is one of the most significant event in medical history “before which in all time surgery was agony, nightmare and a painful experience, but after it surgery has become smooth and pain free”. The place where this demonstration was done has been preserved as a monument and named “Ether Dome”.
First 50 years of anesthesia was largely limited to General Anesthesia only till the discovery of use of cocaine as Local Anesthetic and it took almost another 50 yrs before first spinal anesthesia was given. Even till few decades back anesthesia was largely limited to Inhalational General Anesthesia by giving Ether/Chloroform and Nitrous with a distinct advantage of ease of administration and almost no requirement of any sophisticated instruments but many disadvantages and complications including deadly cardiac arrhythmias.
Types of anesthesia
Anesthesia has evolved significantly since then and has become much more safe, sophisticated and free of complications. Broadly anesthesia can be of 3 type’s i.e.
Local Anesthesia – Medicine is injected to anesthetize a part of the body, it is done for procedures of shorter duration in a very specific part of the body.
Regional Anesthesia – is the use of anesthetic agent to block sensations of pain from a large area of the body, such as an arm or leg or the abdomen. Regional anesthesia allows a procedure to be done on a region of the body without being unconscious.
General Anesthesia – in this patient is rendered unconscious with or without muscle relaxation using anesthetic agent either inhalational with anesthesia gases or intravenous agents.
There has been a significant progress in the field of anesthesia along with the Information technology revolution in last few decades leading to development of sophisticated machines like Anesthesia Work Station, Anesthesia instruments for assistance in securing airway, use of Imaging machines for regional anesthesia and advanced monitoring systems including multi parameter monitor with gas analyzers etc making it really safe and pleasant experience. All these advancements have made it possible for us to safely anesthetize a patient even with co-existing disease like Heart diseases, Diabetes mellitus, High BP, Respiratory Diseases etc. We have progressed to giving anesthesia for most complicated surgeries with favorable outcomes like Heart surgery, Brain surgery, Lung surgery, Transplant and others.
Anesthesia as a specialty has progressed immensely and our work is not limited to providing anesthesia but is also involved in emergency medicine, critical care, pain management etc. But unfortunately they work like silent heroes and even today are given true recognition neither by medical fraternity nor by patients. After – surgery on complicated patients, post cardiac arrest revival, resuscitation in emergency and OT etc, do people really know that man behind the scene was an anesthesiologist?
Even during today’s era of COVID pandemic we anesthesiologist have been the frontline warrior across the globe working in Operation theater and managing COVID patient in ICU and emergency without fearing about the risk to their lives or to their loved one at home. Wearing PPEs and tight fitting face masks for long hours, rebreathing own air, constant fear of getting exposed has made our task not only more challenging but mentally and physically taxing.
But we anesthesiologist always remembers “TO BE HUMAN IS TO ADAPT, SO DID WE”!
So I would like to conclude that the world will be ever grateful to W.T.G. Morton for his gift of pain relief for Human being. We as anesthesiologist will be very proud to follow his footsteps in relief of human suffering in a better way with developments of science.
Dr. Kapil Singhal
Senior Consultant – Anaesthesiology / Deputy Medical Director