Thursday 25 February 2021

Hospital moves to perform all surgical procedures at night in a bid to save anaesthetics

Berlin (dpo) - Could this concept catch on? The Pantaleon Clinic in Berlin recently became the first hospital in Germany to announce that surgery will now only be performed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Since patients are usually asleep during these hours, there is no need for general anaesthetics, which are costly sedatives.

According to physician Dr Jürgen Michels, using patients’ natural sleep patterns to perform surgery is not a far-fetched idea: “Anaesthetics are actually there to produce artificial sleep in patients, but they also place the human body under a lot of stress. However, most people sleep without any sedation at night, which – apart from the health benefits – also enables us to save lots of money in the long run that we could use in other areas.”
“Wakey wakey!” Awaking the morning after surgery
There are obvious advantages to the new method, after all, many patients sleep up to eight hours at night, which makes even long and complicated surgery possible without using general anaesthetics. Smaller, routine operations could even be performed during a daytime nap.
The procedure for these operations does not differ greatly from the traditional procedure: once preparations are complete, the surgeon merely waits until the patient has dozed off. In tough cases, an anaesthetist assists the patient with hot milk and lullabies. As soon as the patient stops responding to questions such as, “Hello? Are you asleep?” they are ready to go under the knife.
Obviously, surgery on sleeping patients should be performed as quietly as possible. Instructions to the medical staff (like “scalpel”, “swab” or “cigarette break”) are to be given only at whisper volume. The light in the operating theatre should also always be dimmed to an acceptable level.
Traditional anaesthetics are now only to be used for emergency surgery since due to pain, severely injured accident victims usually have difficulty falling asleep.
fed, dan, ssi; pictures: Shutterstock; first published 2017-06-12
Read the German version HERE.
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