ANAESTHESIOLOGIST: ROLE IN COVID-19
A year ago you might have heard about the job title and would have little knowledge about it or would have jokingly thought “ Yeah the people who put patients to sleep before surgeries?”
Well fast forward to today and pretty much everyone would now refer to them as “heroes”, our chief of the ‘corona warriors’.
So today I would like to give a little bit of insight into the life of an anesthesiologist, how one achieves the title and what all things they manage and yes obviously would also discuss how COVID has influenced their jobs.
HOW TO BECOME AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST
The first thing you need to achieve is an MBBS degree. So toiling through 4.5 year of study and 4 professional exams u march into an internship where you are the cheapest and most dedicated labor available to the hospital staff and your seniors. That one year is gruesome but is extremely essential as it manages to teach you the basics of patient management in roughly all fields. Then comes the all important and equally tough PG entrance exams, the gateway to specialisation in medical fields(MD,MS).
Once you enter the branch then comes your three year post graduate training. The first year pretty much goes into doing all the petty stuff like preparing drug concentration for preoperative surgeries, doing preanesthetic check up and reviewing with seniors and penning down most of the paperwork. It is from the second year onwards that they start to manage the operative patients, ICU, and most work starts coming at a spinal level to them. The third year is when the graduate is most confident with the work both practically and theoretically.
WORK OF AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST
They are also called intensivists or the ones who are responsible for managing the ICU to attend to the critically ill and most severe cases of the hospital, the reason why they have become indispensable in the fight against COVID.
They manage the patient from all levels starting from neurological assessment( consciousness, responsiveness) then the hemodynamic stability via IV medications like fluids, crystalloids, noradrenaline, and close monitoring of vitals like bp, pulse, hr. They also manage the all important respiratory system the failure of which requires intubation and putting on a ventilator and then managing the patient on the ventilator until he/she can be safely extubated.
They are an important cogwheel of all surgeries emergency and elective alike, whether it be neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, orthosurgery, gynae surgery, paediatric surgery or even emergency cesarean surgeries. So in one case where the anesthetist is working on a 30 year old gunshot wound patient, his next case can be a 90 year old diabetic amputee patient and sometimes even a few days old child for tracheo-esophageal fistula. Complete knowledge of the human body across all spectrums is what is demanded from them. In the operating room they are the diabetes specialist, the asthma specialist, the heart disease specialist in short a one stop solution for the patient.
So next time you think of the job title remember anaesthetists are not there for the purpose of just putting people to sleep but for the purpose of bringing them back up safe and sound.
ROLE IN COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Anaesthesiologist have been called to the front lines of the war on COVID-19 for a very vital yet dangerous job. They operate ventilators, one of the top weapons in fighting severe cases of coronavirus.
They have accepted this frontline assignment even though sometimes there is a shortage of vital equipment and always at a risk to them and their family.
During the current ongoing pandemic anaesthesiologists are facing long working hours and that too in the all cumbersome, suffocating, skin drenching with sweat PPE kits( complete body cover, shoe cover, head cover, face shield, mask). There is always the constant fear of bringing the sickness home to their families. There is also the additional emotional stress of being the only compassionate bedside friend to seriously ill patients whose family members are not allowed and easily the toughest among all the stresses.
Mental health aspect is one of the most neglected aspects of health and more so during this ongoing pandemic. Naturally working in an isolated environment with critically ill patients and losing many of them in each duty while trying your level best does test the most resilient of will powered personalities. Therefore numerous support groups have sprung up to take care of such needs of these bravehearts.
So next time around do remember to give that warm smile and extra respect to your anaesthesiologist and just not limited to the pandemic times cause that is one person you would want on your side when you truly require it!