A medical practitioner says the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) needs to hire additional anesthesiologists to meet the demands that can only be executed by physicians trained in that speciality area.
Speaking to members of the media at a World Anaesthesia Day Symposium in the QEH Auditorium on Monday, consultant anesthesiologist Dr Keisha Thomas-Gibson said more anesthesiologists were required to decrease the heavy workload in the Anaesthesia Department, as she noted that the duties of anesthesiologists go way beyond administering medication to put a patient to sleep before surgery and being there to wake them following the procedure.
Dr Thomas-Gibson, who is the Anesthesia Intensive Care programme coordinator for the University of the West Indies (UWI) undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, said because the anesthesiologist’s role stretches outside the operating theatre, more human resources are necessary to service all the other areas.
“Ninety-nine per cent of patients do not know that the anesthesiologist is with them throughout the surgery. They think that we give an injection and sometimes return to wake you up, or you wake up on your own, and that is absolutely not the case. We are the intraoperative, the surgeon cuts, and we do everything else.
“So it is a situation where, of course, we need human resources, we need persons, we need staff to be able to execute all of the different roles that we have and the speciality of anaesthesia. Because we are finding ourselves in so many other parts of the hospital, we need staff to be able to service all those areas that we are required to service,” she said.
Adding that an extensive list of highly specialised surgeries is performed in Barbados, Dr Thomas-Gibson said that, at times, anesthesiologists have to push other cases aside to be able to provide the service to that speciality case.
“So the backlogs can’t be addressed by us alone. We are here every single day, and we only do what is presented up until a particular time within here and obvious limitations,” she said.
During her presentation, Dr Thomas-Gibson stressed that the safety record at the hospital is “exceptional”.
She commended the partnership between UWI and the QEH, where doctors are receiving specialised training to become anesthesiologists. (AH)