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Preparing for Surgery

Posted Jun 07 2014 4:30pm

I am always amazed when anesthesiologists tell me about the little preparation some patients make when they are going to have surgery. Part of the problems is that their doctors don't sit down with them prior to an operation and go over possible problems. Recently, an anesthesiologist told me of an older woman who was taking several medications, had multiple medical problems, and yet no idea of the names of her medications or the doses. The doctor had to spend 30 to 45 minutes trying to get in touch with the woman's primary doctor. There was just no way an anesthetic can be given if you don't  know what medications a patient has or has not taken. Sometimes certain medicines should and can be taken before a surgery.

There are patients, too, who have been told they should not eat after midnight the day before a surgery and yet they still do so. This can be very risky because vomiting can occur and multiple problems develop. I would certainly not want to be an anesthesiologist and have to take care of all these problems! Another thing that is important if surgery is going to be done on one extremity or breast is to be sure the area is marked. There have been cases where the wrong breast or part of an extremity  have been removed. You can mark the area where there is to be surgery.

The other thing that is important prior to an operation is to be sure post-operative care is arranged. If you need home health care, an Rx is needed from the doctor and should be faxed to the local or best home health care agency. Medicare and many insurance plans will cover the cost. 

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