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American Society of Anesthesiologists - 2,211 Patient Deaths From OVER Medication

'20th century practice substandard for 21st century patient safety,' says Dr. Friedberg

CORONA DEL MAR, Calif., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- "The American Society of Anesthesiologists' (ASA) April 'Anesthesiology' reports of 2,211 patient deaths between 1999-2005, 90% were from over medication (translation: 'TOO MUCH' anesthesia)," says Dr. Friedberg.

"Had the ASA encouraged the use of brain activity monitors (BAMs), FDA approved and available since 1996, many, if not all, of these patients could still be alive today," he opines.

Friedberg says, "The science behind BAMs is well established. The battle to use them is political.

When doctors disagree, patients suffer. Deaths, like Donda West, rapper Kanye's mother, get the public's attention."

Before 1996, anesthesiologists had no DIRECT way to tell how anesthetics affected your brain. Practical BAM technology simply did not exist.

Your brain is the target of your anesthesiologist's drugs, not your pulse or BP.

"INDIRECT signs force OVER MEDICATION for fear of under medication, i.e. give 'too much,' but not enough to kill, informally known as 'the art of the controlled overdose,'" says Friedberg.

Anesthesia doses based on body weight and changes in pulse and BP were pre-1996, INDIRECT ways to 'guesstimate' drug effect and were lethally inaccurate for those 2,211 patients, as reported in Anesthesiology.

Today, there are 6 makers of BAMs. Disclaimer: Dr. Friedberg has no financial involvement with any maker of BAMs.

"Giving anesthesia with a BAM avoids giving 'too much' (or 'too little') and facilitates 'just the right' amount of anesthesia (the 'GOLDILOCKS' principle) for individual needs. Custom fitted anesthesia, not 'one-size, off-the-rack, fits most,'" says Friedberg.

"Giving anesthesia with a BAM is like taking an open-book test, no guessing the 'right' answer. Measuring is better than guessing." he says.

"Too much alcohol is no good for you. Why would 'too much' anesthesia be any different? By 2007, research had already suggested this conjecture was true. I went on public record to declare BAMs a standard of care," he adds.

"The ASA track record for patient safety on pulse oximetry does not suggest it will serve the public better on BAMS," says Friedberg.

"Patients need to learn to advocate for their own safety and ask for BAMs with anesthesia," he says.

"Your brain is most precious to you. You can't replace it.

Anesthesia: Medicate your brain, measure it!" concludes Friedberg.

For more information:

SOURCE Barry L. Friedberg, MD
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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