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What are the risks and challenges in anaesthesia? Read to know more

Dr Ann Mary Antony, an alumna of Apeejay Kharghar, who is an anaesthesia resident at a hospital in Kochi, tells us more



We only know of anaesthesia as something administered at the time of surgery. But who are the medical experts who ensure the procedure is followed correctly and successfully? Who is the one who prepares the patient? “These doctors work behind the curtains,” says Dr Ann Mary Antony, who is pursuing her anaesthesia residency currently. Read to know more about anaesthetists and their work:

How did Apeejay School, Kharghar, promote your holistic development?

As a government employee, my father would be transferred once every three-four years. That is how our family came to Navi Mumbai from Kerala in 2006 and I enrolled in Apeejay Kharghar. I was there till class 10. I took some time to settle in like any other child. Besides, I did not know Hindi. The teachers at Apeejay were supportive and helped me acclimatise to the new environment. My classmates were really helpful and helped me cope well. By 2010, I felt sad that my time at Apeejay had come to an end.

What got you interested in medicine?

Right from childhood, I was sure I wanted to study medicine. Back home in Kerala, the medical college is just at a mere distance of 2 km. I would look at the college every time I walked past it and would wish to study there one day. My parents knew about this and started prepping me very early. Even after moving to Navi Mumbai, my goal did not change.

I studied MBBS in Kerala itself. Now, I am doing my anaesthesia residency in Kochi at Renai Medicity.

You are specialising in anaesthesia. Can you tell us more?

Anaesthesia is something that even medicos do not know much about. I got exposed to anaesthesia during my house surgency where I got to work with faculty and understand what the field is all about. Anaesthesia interested me right from the time we started studying it. Anaesthetists do a very important job, but people are not much aware of it.  

Anaesthesia comes to play not just in surgery but also in critical care. Our work revolves around administering anaesthesia according to the surgery. We have to prepare the patient before the surgery, conduct anaesthesia during the surgery, and take care of their post-operative issues after it. It is easy to put anybody to sleep but it takes an anaesthetist to wake them up, which is crucial.

For patients in the ICU, anaesthetists take care of their overall well-being.

When you are administering anaesthesia, are there risks involved?

For each surgery, the anaesthesia used is different. In some cases, we use regional anaesthesia like in the case of knee surgery, for instance, instead of general anaesthesia. The former is much safer as compared to general anaesthesia where we have to intubate (insert a tube in the throat) the patient and put him or her on ventilation. The risks in general anaesthesia are much greater and more complicated.

Is there anything that the patient needs to keep in mind?

Before administering anaesthesia, we have to do what is known as a pre-anaesthetic checkup. That is when we study the entire medical history of the patient like any other doctor. We have to analyse the condition and optimise. For instance, if the patient has uncontrolled blood pressure or sugar levels, we have to correct that before taking them for surgery. This is the anaesthetist’s job. With healthier patients, things are usually fine but if the patient is very sick or old or has severe heart disease, etc, the process gets very tough.

In the pre-anaesthetic phase, we educate the patient regarding our plan of anaesthesia, how we are conducting it, the possible risks we are anticipating and how we are managing them, and so on.

Does the job get stressful?

It does, especially in emergency situations where we may not have time to optimise the patient. There are times when the work gets challenging; there are days when we have too many emergency cases one after the other. But the good thing about anaesthesia is that if one person is stuck, they can ask for help from another anaesthetist.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.