MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Tired of looking after every airway in this world, anesthesiologists admit they occasionally wish patients wouldn’t be so lazy and unmotivated, and could occasionally show at least a little interest and intubate themselves every once in a while.
“I’ve been doing this for several decades and never once have I had a patient look up at me from the table and say, ‘You know what, it’s okay, I got this one, you can sit this one out,’ it’s really unbelievable,” explained McGill University anesthesiologist Eric Drouin, M.D., who is still recovering from an impromptu request to adjust the table height last fall. “I mean, thousands and thousands of patients, and not a single self-intubation. What ever happened to good old self reliance?”
Anesthesiologists want patients to realize that they’re multitasking back there, what with having to iron and put up the drapes, and lay out all the crossword and sudoku puzzles. “Then to add managing airways, paralytics, sedatives, blame, and anesthetics on top of an already-long laundry list?” Drouin added. “I mean, it’d just be nice to be offered a hand, you know?”
Do you know what really gets under the skin of anesthesiologists like Drouin? At the most critical time in the OR, just when an anesthesiologist’s hands are at their fullest, just when they can use the most help, the patient has the audacity to fall asleep.
“It’s insulting, to be honest,” admitted Ryan Grossman, an anesthesiologist in Atlanta, Georgia. “I mean, come on.”
Anesthesiologists have always wondered how patients can self-diagnose, self-medicate, and self-treat, yet there hasn’t been a single patient who has ever self-intubated. It’s baffling to them. The fact patients self-extubate with such high frequency makes it that much more frustrating.
“If that day ever comes, when a patient self-intubates,” added Drouin, “you better believe the flood gates are going to open and I’m going to cry such tears of joy. Ask any anesthesiologist. That’s the dream.”