oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Lethal anaesthesia : infamous deaths from the history of the profession : congress prize abstracts

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



Percy Bysshe Shelley
Everyday our patients walk the fine line between sleep, anaesthesia and death. According to the WHO webpage avoidable surgical complications still account for a large proportion of preventable deaths globally. Despite dramatic improvements in surgical safety knowledge, studies in developing countries suggest a death rate of 5-10% associated with major surgery. The rate of mortality during general anaesthesia is reported to be as high as 1 in 150 in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The history of our profession reads like a great morbidity and mortality review. To this day, surgery is still not safe. This presentation remembers four stories of lethal anaesthesia from different periods in the history.

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