Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists News Release
Patients Can Make Surgery Even Safer: Physician Anesthesiologists Explain How
Des Moines, January 12, 2015
Surgery and anesthesia are safer than ever, but most patients don’t know about the steps they can and should take to make their experience even safer and more comfortable.
Physician anesthesiologist Dr. Mark Sundet of Des Moines, President of the Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)®, is sharing tips about safe anesthesia during Physician Anesthesiologists Week. His most important tip: Have a detailed conversation with your physician anesthesiologist before surgery.
Dr. Sundet said that studies conducted by ASA show that most people are unaware of the role the physician anesthesiologist has in taking care of patients before, during and after surgery, and how patients can work with this medical specialist as they prepare for their surgery.
“Patients know that the physician anesthesiologist ‘puts them to sleep’ before surgery but they know little about the other medical care and services we provide,” he said. “They also don’t know how important it is to ask questions and share information about their lifestyle, their health and even their fears about anesthesia and surgery.”
Here are specific tips from Dr. Sundet and the ASA and ISA.
- Know who will be administering your anesthesia. Your anesthesia care team should be led by a physician anesthesiologist, a medical doctor specializing in anesthesia, pain and critical care medicine, who works with your surgeon and other medical personnel to develop and administer your anesthesia care plan. Physician anesthesiologists help ensure safe, high-quality care.
- Meet with your physician anesthesiologist. During this meeting, provide detailed information about your health and lifestyle because certain medical conditions and lifestyle habits can make a difference, and your physician anesthesiologist can adjust your care plan accordingly. Do you have diabetes? Lung problems, kidney disease, allergies? Have you ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia or pain medication, even years ago? Even things that may seem minor can be important. Do you smoke? Do you snore? Are you sedentary?
- Are you afraid? Don’t be afraid to say so. It’s natural to fear surgery and anesthesia, and your physician anesthesiologist can give you information that will help put your mind at ease. Feeling safe is critical to having a positive and safe surgery experience.
- Come prepared and ask any questions that may be on your mind. Be sure to ask about the credentials and experience of your care team. Also ask for any and all details you want about the procedure and the anesthesia.
- Discuss your recovery. Your anesthesia care team continues to care for you after your surgery. Ask about the type of pain medication you’ll receive and any concerns you have about recovery, returning home and getting back to your normal routine.
To learn more about the critical role physician anesthesiologists play before, during and after surgery, and about your own role in ensuring your safety and comfort, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves. The Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists is a state component of the ASA.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org or the ISA at iasahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount.