Archive for April, 2010

What is an aphorism?

According to Wikipedia,

The word aphorism (literally “distinction” or “definition”, from the Greek: ἀφορισμός, aphorismós ap–horizein “from-to bound”) denotes an original thought, spoken or written in a laconic and easily memorable form.

Well, I spotted some of these in a cute book called “How to survive in anaesthesia: A guide for trainees” by Neville Robinson and George Hall. These are my favourite words of wisdom as well as those that appealed to my funny bone..

Never start an anaesthetic until you have seen the whites of the surgeon’s eyes.

Always pee before starting a list.

ABC of anaesthesia: always be cool, always be cocky!

Anaesthesia is ‘awfully simple’ but when it goes wrong is ‘simply awful’.

If in doubt, ask for help. There is no place for arrogance in anaesthesia. (Kinda contradicts the ABC one)

First rule of anaesthesia, if there’s a chair in theatre, sit on it.

Never panic. This applies particularly when the patient is trying to die and you have no idea why.

If in doubt, take it out. This applies to tracheal tubes and many other things in life!

There are three things to respect in anaesthesia: the airway, the airway and the airway.

When all else fails, disconnect the catheter mount and blow down the tracheal tube.

The laryngoscope is a tongue retractor, not a tooth extractor.

Never say to the patient ‘just a little prick’ before inserting a cannula, you are likely to the told that is exactly what you are!

Make sure that you are not the only sucker in the anaesthetic room/theatre.

All 1 ml ampoules look the same – check very carefully.

For a rapid sequence induction, always have two doses of suxamethonium ready in case once goes over the floor/ceiling etc.

Be professional. Humprey Bogart’s definition of a professional – somebody who can still give their best performance when they feel least like it.


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