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'Anesthesiologists' crucial role during pandemic needs to be recognized'

On eve of World Anesthesia Day, top Indian anesthesiologists say country is facing shortage of anesthesiologists

Ahmad Adil   | 16.10.2021
'Anesthesiologists' crucial role during pandemic needs to be recognized' File Photo

NEW DELHI

Anesthesiologists went through a "challenging" time at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in India, a top anesthesiologist said on the eve of World Anesthesia Day being observed Saturday.

That’s because they played the main role of managing critically ill patients and managing them in large numbers.

"Anesthesiologists in view of their expertise about critical care monitoring and critical care training are best suited as critical care specialist and during the pandemic, most of the intensive care units was managed by an anesthesiologist ... they played a crucial and important role," Goverdhan Dutt Puri, head of anesthesiology and intensive care at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, in northern India, told Anadolu Agency.

He said managing patients in the COVID-19 intensive care unit was difficult as they had to do a large number of aerosol-generating procedures which can make the physician vulnerable to infections from patients.

"Anesthesiologists were vulnerable to stress as well as infection and a lot of them died," he said.

India has witnessed an unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases, with infections and death figures crossing 400,000 and 4,500, respectively, in May.

Commenting about the challenges faced by anesthesiologists, the top anesthesiologist said there has been nonrecognition in spite of so much advancement.

"Still a lot of patients do not know about the person who takes care of them during the crucial stages of surgery. They only come to know when, due to some complications, the blame is put on anesthesiologist," he said, adding that there is inadequate compensation and payment for the crucial services provided by the anesthesiologist.

Stating that anesthesiologists "bring back the patients to life and take care of the immediate postoperative," Puri said the lack of availability of newer drugs is another issue. "Maybe the cost of those drugs is an issue but some drugs can be very useful for safe anesthesia," he said.


Shortage

Puri said the country is facing a shortage of anesthesiologists.

"There is a huge shortage of trained anesthesiologists and still at some places inadequately trained or self-styled anesthesiologists are conducting anesthesia for surgeries," he said.

He, however, said, increasing job opportunities and better facilities like remuneration and better facilities in rural areas will stimulate doctors to take up this specialty.

The expert also said that unlike developed countries where anesthesiologists are paid as much as surgeons, or sometimes even higher, it is different in India.

"Yes, it's true and the disparity is getting bigger day by day. Mostly we see anesthesiologists are paid less," he claimed. "Anesthesiologists need to form groups to ensure their due."

His message on World Anesthesia Day is that the public should realize the importance of anesthesiologists.

"Imagine undergoing surgery without anesthesiologist more so surgeries like cardiac or neurosurgeries," he said. "Advancements in surgery are predominantly due to advancements in anesthesia. So remember anesthesiologists for the same."

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