Although the development of anesthesia took place in the 1840’s, surgery was still not regularly performed due to fear of infection and other complications. That was until the Civil War started in 1861, which caused the number of necessary operations to drastically increase. According to an article in the newsletter of the American Society of Anesthesiologists by Maurice S. Albin, M.D., “The sheer magnitude of battlefield injuries during the conflict played a major role in establishing the regular use of anesthesia.” The need for surgery was greater than ever before, which gave physicians no choice but to use anesthesia to operate. Methods Prior to Anesthesia Prior to the the war, patients may have been given something to bite on, alcohol, opioid drugs, or put in physical restraints to keep them under control during surgery. According to Albin, “It was thought to be unmanly for a male to undergo surgery with an anesthetic, which was usually reserved for women and children. There was even a belief that the use of ‘cold steel’ had a beneficial effect, and it would not cause the depression thought to occur with the use of anesthesia.” “Real Men” Don’t Need Anesthesia The idea of anesthesia being “unmanly”, quickly shifted as the war progressed and the number of injuries rapidly increased. It became a necessity in battlefield hospitals, and is believed that there were around 120,000 uses of anesthetic agents by surgeons on both sides during the battle. Anesthesia on the Fly At the time of the Civil War, many surgeons and physicians had little no experience with using an anesthetic during operations. They were forced to rely on manuals which gave them instructions on how to properly use anesthetics such as ether and chloroform. Although many doctors lacked experience with these agents, mortality rates associated with the use of an anesthetic were surprisingly low. Albin stated, “After the termination of this horrendous conflict, these doctors would return to their practices, hospitals and medical schools, all the richer for being exposed to this unique American contribution to the life-easing quality of mercy — the discovery of anesthesia.” Physicians benefited from learning firsthand the techniques and uses of anesthetics, and many lives of wounded soldiers were saved as a result. Today, millions of people undergo anesthesia each year in the United States alone, and it has become extremely common. Although anesthesia has developed and changed over the years, its regular use was established during the time of the Civil War.
Before the development of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, or ASCs, it was not uncommon for patients to wait several weeks or months to get an appointment for surgery, or to spend days or weeks in the hospital recovering. With hopes to change this by providing affordable and accessible outpatient surgery alternatives, two doctors, named Wallace Reed and John Ford, came up with the idea for freestanding ambulatory surgery centers. In 1970, this idea became a reality when they opened their first Ambulatory Surgery Center called, Surgicenter, in Phoenix, Arizona.
The effects of the use of anesthesia on infants and young children have been a concern for doctors and parents for many years. Each year, millions of patients are exposed to anesthesia during surgery, and about a half a million of those patients are children under the age of three. In the past, studies have been done on young monkeys and other animals that showed anesthetics may kill brain cells, affect memory, and cause behavioral problems. However, since these were animals and not children, these studies offered no definitive results.
The last of this four part series striking down the myths behind the use of an anesthesia management solutions focuses on time. Many facilities are of the mindset that by having their own, in-house anesthesia team provides them with the most flexible option as it relates to availability and time. However, regional anesthesia management solutions actually have the ability to offer improved flexibility as it relates to anesthesia services.
In today’s world, every company is being asked to take on more responsibilities with the same or, unfortunately, sometimes even less resources. Finding cost efficiencies does not always mean going without something; it sometimes means absorbing the workload in another area. The world of healthcare, and anesthesia, is not immune to this practice.
Our CRNAs and anesthesiologists practice strict infection control to avoid pre and post-operative complications. Our anesthesia care model emphasizes and improves patient safety which increases positive patient outcomes. We send anesthesia providers who are familiar with your facility’s operating procedures.
Anesthesia outsourcing reduces your liability in the OR. Physician intra-operative monitoring is eliminated and anesthesia is the sole responsibility of our anesthetist. As your anesthesia provider, Steel City Anesthesia LLC becomes responsible for any issues that might arise.
© 2019 Steel City Anesthesia, LLC. All rights reserved