Anaesthetists come out for day to explain going under

Anaesthesia specialist Jason Henwood (right) talks Jim Williamson through the benefits of...
Anaesthesia specialist Jason Henwood (right) talks Jim Williamson through the benefits of regional anaesthesia. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR
Dunedin  Hospital recognised National Anaesthesia Day yesterday by showing the public what goes on behind closed doors.

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) co-ordinated the day to mark the 170th anniversary of the use of ether as an anaesthetic.

The campaign's focus was to raise community awareness about what anaesthetists did in hospital settings.

Unlike doctors, anaesthetists were seldom recognised for their work as they often only worked within operating theatres.

Anaesthesia specialist Dr Jason Henwood said being awake through an operation ``might be associated with some anxiety''.

``If we can actually do anything whatsoever to reduce that anxiety by increasing the awareness of the available options, that could be a useful public health care initiative''.

Equipment from the anaesthesia department was brought from an operating theatre to the hospital foyer for the public to look at.

Doctors and nurses explained the process of anaesthesia, in particular regional anaesthesia, to the public.

``The advantage of regional anaesthesia is that it may allow for better quality pain relief post-operatively.''

Regional anaesthesia was common in a range of procedures as it would only numb the part of the body being operated on.

It provided an option for those too unwell for a full general anaesthetic, and had a better recovery time after surgery.

Dr Henwood said it was an area of practice that had grown because of new equipment.

He said anaesthesia practice had revolutionised surgical practice and operative care.

``Without good, safe anaesthesia we do not actually have operations.''
 - by Fleur Mealing

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