One of the most important members of any surgical team is the anesthesiologist. These doctors practice a highly specialized type of medicine. If they don’t do their job correctly, the patient can suffer potentially fatal reactions to anesthesia.
If you’re having surgery — even a minor procedure that requires general anesthesia — the anesthesiologist should talk to you shortly before the procedure. This is your chance to ask them questions.
However, they’re there to ask you questions as well. It’s essential that you answer these fully and honestly. They need to ensure that their anesthesia plan is right for you and minimize the chances of any harmful side effects. Don’t assume they’ve talked to your surgeon or read you file.
Following are a number of things you need to make sure you tell the anesthesiologist about — whether they ask you or not:
Chronic health conditions: This includes heart, lung, kidney or liver problems and any other conditions, whether you think they are relevant to the surgery or not. You also need to tell them if you’ve had a stroke or have a family history of strokes.
All medications and supplements you’re taking: You may have had to discontinue some in the days leading up to your surgery, but make sure they know about them anyway.
Alcohol: It’s crucial to be honest about your alcohol intake — not just in the days leading up to the surgery, when you may have been instructed to abstain, but on a regular basis. The amount of alcohol you consume can impact how your body reacts to anesthesia.
Cigarette and marijuana smoking: Again, it’s necessary to be honest about how much you typically smoke. Heavy smokers can have low oxygen levels that must be carefully monitored during surgery. Marijuana can also impact your reaction to anesthesia, so even if you consume it another way, let them know.
Snoring: This can be a sign of sleep apnea, and that condition can make it harder to bring someone out of anesthesia. Therefore, the ingredients have to be adjusted accordingly.
History of reactions to anesthesia: Tell the anesthesiologist about any problems you’ve had in the past when you were given anesthesia.
If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a problem with anesthesia, it may be wise to talk with an experienced attorney. They can help you determine whether you have a medical malpractice case.