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Can you die from Anesthesia ?

Old 05-04-05, 07:04 PM
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Can you die from Anesthesia ?

a friend of a friends mom died last saturday after an operation. as i understand it was a very small and routine operation and there was little or not risk involved. so, the op went fine, and then . . .like 20 minutes later she died in the recovery room, and they didnt give me any details but they said she had a complication from the anesthesia ??

This makes me worried to death because my own mom has to have surgery tomorrow. I know i shouldnt worry, but its kind of like hearing about a plane crash the day before you get on a plane or something.

Does anyone know more about the exact risks of being put to sleep ?

Thank you kindly, otterfolk.

signed, skiblet.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:07 PM
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There is always a risk. The have some alternatives....depending on what you are getting done.

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Old 05-04-05, 07:08 PM
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It's very, very rare; I believe only a handful of people die every year and millions get anaesthesia. I'd use it.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:09 PM
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The risks are pretty low comparitively, but they can happen. My mother had an operation last year and we were told that the risks of her dying under anesthesia were quite high relatively (because of her health), but still low overall (about 1/10,000).

Search on google came up with anywhere between 1/1,000 and 1/100,000 depending on any range of factors.

http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu...ures/risk2.cfm

Edit: Also depends on whether it's local or general anesthetic. General is far more risky (and probably what they're talking about with the %-ages), because often they need to effectively stop the lungs from working during the operation.

Local is almost a doddle, comparitively I believe and the risks probably extend into the 1/1,000,000th or lower.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't worry about it, because the risks of dying under anesthesia would be FAR, FAR, FAR less than the risks of not having the surgury in the first place.

Last edited by naughty jonny; 05-04-05 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:25 PM
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Well, you can't feel death, so in a way, anesthesia works.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
you can't feel death

How do you know ?
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Old 05-04-05, 07:28 PM
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He died once.

...but got better.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by skiblet
How do you know ?
Because I've never heard of someone coming back from the dead and complaining it hurt and really sucked.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:46 PM
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I really depends on the patient's health, type of surgery, and if it is an emergency or not. For a healthy person undergoing an elective, routine surgery the risk is extremely small.

Can you die from "anesthesia"? Yes, but always take it with a grain of salt that the patient "died from a complication of anesthesia" especially if it is the surgeon that is telling you that. There are very rare diseases that have complications directly related to anesthesia (malignant hyperthermia, psuedocholinesterase deficiency, etc). Patients may also have an allergic reaction to drugs given during anesthesia, but usually easily treated if recognized quickly. There is also a risk that the anesthesiologist may have difficultly placing the endotracheal tube with the extreme complication of death. If the complication was really from "anesthesia" likely the anesthesiologist would be explaining what the complication was instead of the surgeon doing it. Not always the case, but that is the typical situation.

As far as regional being safer than general anesthesia, this really isn't true overall unless a patient has a specific issue that would make one form of anesthesia preferable to the other. Each have their risks and benefits, but overall the complication rates are about the same.

Just make sure that you mother gives her anesthesiologist all of her medical information including medications, previous anesthesia history, and family history of any problems during surgery. Make sure that she follows NPO instructions (telling her how many hours before the surgery that she can't eat or drink) and tell her not to lie about anything (including when she last ate, alcohol, drug, cigarette use, etc).
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Old 05-04-05, 07:51 PM
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dang what are you, a doctor? im going to be sending all my serious health questions to you from now on. You wrote a nicely constructed, thoughtful, helpful, insightful and intelligent reply, thank you.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:51 PM
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happens. that's why places that give anesthesia have to have equipment like defribulators on hand
when my brother worked at a hospital there was one anesthesist that you definitely did not want to have, asthey had killed a number of people due to fucking up the dosage
there wasn't direct enough evidence to do anything to them but everyone at the hospital knew it was the anesthesist's fault
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Old 05-04-05, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by skiblet
a friend of a friends mom died last saturday after an operation. as i understand it was a very small and routine operation and there was little or not risk involved. so, the op went fine, and then . . .like 20 minutes later she died in the recovery room, and they didnt give me any details but they said she had a complication from the anesthesia ??
As for this specific issue, not knowing anything else (assuming she is otherwise healthy), I would say that if she died in the recovery room 20 minutes later, it was because she got too much pain medication and stopped breathing. Usually in the post-op area, there is a recovery room nurse that cares for one or 2 patients and watches their vital signs, gives medications for pain, nausea and vomiting, etc (this is done under the direction of the anesthesiologist). Not only should patients be watched closely by the nurse, the patient has a monitor to check oxygen levels in the blood, blood pressure, and heart rhythm and rate. Each of these monitors will alarm if there is a problem. If that was the reason for her death (stopped breathing), then the post-op people didn't do their job. Obviously, there are other things that may have been going on. I would be interested to here the details if you get them on how she really died.

Don't worry about your mom. The risks are extremly small.
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Old 05-04-05, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by skiblet
dang what are you, a doctor? im going to be sending all my serious health questions to you from now on. You wrote a nicely constructed, thoughtful, helpful, insightful and intelligent reply, thank you.
Why yes I am. Thanks for asking.
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Old 05-04-05, 08:56 PM
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When I was a young boy, I had 3 hip operations. I almost died during one of the operations, but they never could tell us what happened. We found later that one of my nephews has malignant hyperthermia. How rare is it, Ketamine?
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Old 05-04-05, 09:28 PM
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Any medical questions posted in this forum are going to bring all the medical geeks (like myself) out the woodwork.
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Old 05-04-05, 09:46 PM
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Anestesiologists have the highest malpractice insurance rates in the medical industry.

'Nuff said.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by skiblet
dang what are you, a doctor? im going to be sending all my serious health questions to you from now on. You wrote a nicely constructed, thoughtful, helpful, insightful and intelligent reply, thank you.
I'd be happy to help with the non-serious health questions.

Originally Posted by skiblet
...
Does anyone know more about the exact risks of being put to sleep ?
...
[poor taste warning] Was she on an HMO? Did they send her to a vet to save on costs? If she went to a vet and they told the vet to "put her to sleep", I think I see the problem. [/poor taste warning]

Seriously though, there's a reason why anesthesiologists are among the highest paid medical specialist, if not the highest paid medical specialist... because it takes a ton of schooling above and beyond the normal medical degree stuff because it's very tricky and deadly.

Reminds me of when my wife got an epidural before a c-section. The doc gave her the medicine and told her that she should be numb. She wasn't. He gave her a second, then a third dose. She later said that she had an out of body experience during the procedure (watching from above where the doctor was). Weird.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:35 PM
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Really? Higher than OB/GYNs or surgeons?
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Old 05-04-05, 10:45 PM
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When I had surgery last September they had me in the post op room for a very long time. They told my family I had problems waking up from anesthesia. I think they were lying though cuz I remember being up and very alert after surgery but waiting for my room. I think they gave my room to someone else. You never know though.

Skiblet, as most have said, your mom will be fine.
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Old 05-04-05, 11:40 PM
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Damn_anesthesiologist woke me up after my surgery. I was like.. why'd you wake me up? It's your fault I puked all over the tv!
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Old 05-05-05, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Quake1028
When I was a young boy, I had 3 hip operations. I almost died during one of the operations, but they never could tell us what happened. We found later that one of my nephews has malignant hyperthermia. How rare is it, Ketamine?
The numbers that they quote are that MH occurs in 1 out of 12,000 pediatric anesthetics and 1 out of 40,000 adult anesthetics. It runs in families so all of your nephew's relatives are at a much higher risk of MH. So did they tell you that you had MH? MH is the one disease that is pretty much an anesthesia issue and b/c it is rare, anesthesiologists get excited when they hear of someone having this disorder. If they even had a small idea that your problem was MH then they would have let you know (unless this was many years ago).

Last edited by Ketamine; 05-05-05 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 05-05-05, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Green Jello
Anestesiologists have the highest malpractice insurance rates in the medical industry.

'Nuff said.
Not true. I would like to see a source of your statement.
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Old 05-05-05, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Ketamine
Why yes I am. Thanks for asking.
Heh. That's why I find it amusing that you use the username Ketamine, given its long history of pharmacologic abuse. It's funny that Wikipedia's entry starts out: "Ketamine was first used on American soldiers during the Vietnam War, but is often avoided now because it can cause unpleasant out of body experiences..."

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Old 05-05-05, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Green Jello
Anestesiologists have the highest malpractice insurance rates in the medical industry.

'Nuff said.
I disagree. I believe that neurosurg, ortho, and OB/GYN are all higher.
I'll try and find some exact numbers with sources.
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Old 05-05-05, 06:41 AM
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To Special K,
Are you an attending or resident, what year, and what specialty?
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