Silent Partners in the O.R.
What is an anesthesiologist?
An anesthesiologist is a physician who has graduated from an accredited medical school and who has completed an approved residency in anesthesiology. Anne Arundel Medical Center has 38 board-certified anesthesiologists on staff.What is a board-certified anesthesiologist?
To become board certified, an anesthesiologist must have successfully fulfilled all requirements of the American Board of Anesthesiology.What does an anesthesiologist do?
When a patient faces surgery, most of the emphasis is on the procedure itself: how long will it take, how long will the recovery be, and when can a normal life be resumed.
Usually, it isn’t until shortly before surgery that the patient meets a critical caregiver on the surgical team: the anesthesiologist. That’s when the patient suddenly realizes he or she will be “under” or “knocked out,” and many questions emerge.
“I want patients to know that the anesthesiologist is there to assure that they keep breathing, and that their blood continues to circulate in their bodies,” said Ed Nguyen, M.D., a board-certified anesthesiologist with The Anesthesiology Company, whose 38 board-certified anesthesiologists provide one-to-one care to patients at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
“We’re not with the patient and the surgeon when they make decisions about surgery,” Dr. Nguyen said. “But once the patients get past the surgeon’s door, they want to know about the anesthesiology. I liken the anesthesiologist to the autopilot on the airplane. If the surgeon encounters turbulence, we’re there to smooth it out.”
The question Dr. Nguyen most frequently hears from patients is “how do you know I’m sleeping, that I’m not ‘locked in’ or awake and screaming inside?”
“Anesthesiologists monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and give the correct amount of anesthetic medication,” he said. “If there is a problem, we can tell by the adrenaline response in the body. The heart rate and blood pressure shoot up.We are monitoring the patient so the surgeon can complete the surgery.”
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