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National Anaesthesia Day – 17 October

National Anaesthesia Day

Regional anaesthesia, which numbs only the part of the body being operated on, is the theme for this year’s National Anaesthesia Day, being held on Monday 17 October. The day is promoted by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and marks the first time ether anaesthetic was demonstrated in Boston, Massachusetts, 170 years ago (16 October, 1846).

As part of the day’s activities around the country, visitors to Waikato Hospital can view a display on anaesthesia and posters at the Meade Clinical Centre and in clinic waiting areas.

A regional anaesthetic involves an injection into the nerve bundles that control a particular area of the body; for example, for hand and arm surgery, the injection is into a nerve bundle in the shoulder. Many mothers having caesarean sections have a regional anaesthetic injected into the spine. The benefits of regional anaesthesia include good pain control, faster recovery, fewer side-effects and less stress on the body.

Learn more about anaesthesia in these excellent videos produced by ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists)

  • A patient being given a regional anaesthetic in theatre (with the anaesthetist using ultrasound to find the nerve bundle and talking the patient through the process).
  • A different patient talking about what it was like to be awake during surgery with a regional anaesthetic.
  • The president of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, Professor David A. Scott, explaining regional anaesthesia.
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