On the 16th October anaesthesia providers the world over took to social media to celebrate their profession and have a bit of fun whilst doing it.
World Anaesthesia Day commemorates the birth of anaesthesia on 16th October 1846. When doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated the use of ether for the first time on a patient. In doing so they changed surgery forever, proving it was possible for patients to undergo surgery without the torture of pain previously associated with it.
Despite nearly 170 years having passed since that first anaesthetic procedure and the countless breakthroughs that have succeeded it, nearly 5 billion people continue to lack access to safe anaesthesia practices.
In the light of this on-going neglect, global awareness days like World Anaesthesia Day can be a powerful advocacy tool to educate the general public, mobilise political will and celebrate and reinforce achievements of the global anaesthesia community. World Anaesthesia Day celebrations were partnered with the World Restart a Heart Day movement led by the International Liasion Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and the European Resuscitation Council. Under a general theme of ‘Resuscitation’ colleagues around the world were encouraged to use the day to highlight the indispensable role of anaesthesiologists in providing safe and effective resuscitation.
Resuscitation is one cornerstone of safe anaesthesia provision. The WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anaesthesia highly recommends that emergency resuscitation medication and other resuscitation equipment must be immediately available. It is great to see so many anaesthesia providers coming together to draw attention to the vital role they play in patient care. For too many people across the globe, life-saving surgery with safe anaesthesia remains unobtainable. As outlined in the World Health Assembly Resolution 68.15, if we are to achieve our Universal Health Coverage goals anaesthesia must be viewed as a human right, not a privilege. WFSA and its members will continue to bring attention to anaesthesia and its pivotal role in providing health care for all.