You already know the sad story of Michael Jackson and his death under questionable medical care. You might even know that his attending physician, Dr. Conrad Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for failing to monitor his patient after administering anesthesia. Michael Jackson is one high profile case of an anesthesia over-medication death, but we rarely hear of the low profile cases.
It’s a long story of how noted anesthesiologist, Dr. Barry Friedberg and I became friends. He lives in California and I, in NY. We have never met face to face, yet correspond frequently about happenings in our lives, ending e-mails with concluding words such as, “hugs from me to you”. He was called to testify in the infamous case of Michael Jackson’s medical care, but found only incriminating evidence against Conrad Murray, and has kept me informed.
What I have learned from Dr. Friedberg is frightening, yet also gives us a clear call to action. The vast majority of Americans are routinely over medicated every day when going under anesthesia simply because their anesthesiologists are not measuring their brains. During surgery, doctors routinely monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels in the blood, and administer an EKG; but ironically, it has not been routine to monitor the brain – the very organ that the sedation is working on. I am told that brain monitors are found in 75% of US hospitals, yet only used 25% of the time, mostly because patients simply do not know to ask for them.
Vibrant Nation Members, please listen carefully. Anesthesia over-medication is especially perilous for people over 50. Nearly 40% of people leave the hospital in a ‘brain fog,’ clinically called Post Operative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD). One person dies daily from anesthesia over- medication. But death is not the worst result of the nefarious practice of routine anesthesia over-medication. The most serious risk faced from routine anesthesia over-medication is waking up with dementia after anesthesia (DAA) & never again being the same person as before they underwent anesthesia. This is a scenario that Dr. Friedberg firmly believes could be eradicated with the use of a twenty dollar brain monitor sensor.
The FDA approved the BIS brain monitor 15 years ago. Yet the ASA has stubbornly resisted encouraging its widespread use. Americans should be outraged to learn the ASA appears more concerned with receiving millions of drug company dollars over preserving patients’ lives.
Anesthesia medicates the brain. BIS measures the brain’s response. Measuring is better than guessing.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I highly recommend that you watch this brief interview with Dr. Friedberg.
So what is the call to action for the rest of us? If you or a loved one needs surgery under anesthesia, ask the simple question: “Do you use a brain monitor when I will be under anesthesia? Demand BIS or go elsewhere for your surgery.
“Going under anesthesia without a brain monitor is like playing Russian roulette with your brain,” says Dr. Friedberg. “You have to live with the long term effects of your short term care.”
Have a beautiful life!