Anaesthesia

Suspended Animation: Concepts of Anaesthesia

In the mid-19th century, the term etherization was used to describe the state produced by the inhalation of ether vapour. They found chloroform and other agents were more effective. So the term anaesthesia, i.e. without sensation, came into being.

The ether/chloroform combo was not enough and intravenous agents, muscle relaxants and other adjuncts were introduced. Nowadays an anaesthetic agent, an analgesic, and a muscle relaxant are used together.

The author's friend suffered a disclocated shoulder. While fixing it he was dosed with the analgesic Morphine, and Midazolam which causes transient memory loss. So the memory of a painful procedure was forgotten. Is this ethical? The author feels that the deliberate infliction of pain is not ethical, even if the subsequent memory is lost.

The conscious mind forms both experiences (e.g. pain) and memories of those experiences. General anaesthesia temporarily suspends the formation of both.