Do your brain a favor…

read Getting Over Going Under by Barry L. Friedberg, MD

Author: Bob Etier
Published: November 17, 2010 at 9:19 am

Every day you brings you closer to the day when you will undergo surgery. It’s just a matter of odds—the longer you live, the higher the chances you will need surgical intervention of some type. Or maybe you need to have that bump on your nose straightened out, your breasts enlarged, or your face lifted. Whatever the procedure, you will need to be anesthetized (you know, knocked out). Barry L. Friedberg’s latest book, Getting Over Going Under reveals what you need to know to improve your surgical experience.

“Your surgery will be May 13, and your anesthesiologist will be Dr. So-and-So (of the Chicago So-and-So’s)…” your surgeon—or more likely his nurse or scheduler—says. Most of us leave it at that. We are so concerned about our surgery and its outcome, that we’re not thinking about our poor little brains and what could happen when we’re in drug-induce dreamland. Most patients are aware—or should be, since they signed that little piece of paper—of the risks of anesthesia. They include nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, brain damage, dementia, and death. However, Dr. Friedberg assures us that none of those things will happen if we take a more active part in choosing who will knock us out and how.

In Getting Over Going Under, Friedberg describes the “Goldilocks” method of anesthesia, in which the dosage is not done by guesswork but by using a brain monitor, a specific anesthetic drug (propofol), and something to fool your brain into thinking it’s not experiencing pain (ketamine). He also devotes a chapter to Michael Jackson and propofol, the drug that precipitated his death (the drug is vindicated; Jackson’s doctor is not).

Using the Friedberg method, following surgery the patient will wake up and be the person he or she was before anesthesia. Nausea and vomiting, intense pain, dizziness and other undesirable side effects do not occur. Also, patients will not wake up during surgery.

If Goldilocks anesthesia is so effective and safe, why don’t all hospitals and anesthesiologists offer it? In presenting his case, Friedberg examines reasons that this method is not embraced by all. I know you’re not going to believe this, but pharmaceutical company profits figure in.

Friedberg also explains patients’ rights and what a patient must do in order to get the anesthesia of his or her choice. Getting Over Going Under supplies the information patients need to improve the safety and success of their surgical experiences.

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