Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society responds to reports on Michael Jackson's death

The Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society (CAS) represents the only trained physicians providing anesthetic services in Canada. CAS is responding to reports that Michael Jackson was given a fatal combination of drugs, including the powerful anesthetic propofol, prior to his death on June 25. Propofol is administered intravenously to induce and maintain sedation or general anesthesia in settings like the operating room, the intensive care unit or the emergency room where the cardiovascular and respiratory status of the patient can be closely monitored. Physicians administering propofol should be fully trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; propofol should never be used as a "sleep aid".

General anesthesia may seem like being asleep but is actually quite different. During general anesthesia, an anesthesiologist keeps the patient in a carefully controlled unconscious state and monitors that the anesthetic depth is appropriate. Cardiovascular and respiratory functions have to be monitored and often actively supported. General anesthetics like propofol and potent analgesics are administered in appropriate amounts so that the patient is completely unconscious during surgery, but awake at the end with an adequate level of pain control.

Canadian anesthesiologists are physicians who have completed a university pre-medical program, followed by medical school and then five or more years of specialized (residency) training in anesthesiology. Anesthesiologists give more intravenous drugs than all other types of physicians combined and have expert knowledge of the extremely potent drugs used to anesthetize people. They are specialists in perioperative medicine, the medical care before, during and after surgery. They are also experts in the treatment of acute and chronic pain.

CAS was founded in 1943 and dedicated to the advancement of the medical practice of anesthesia through research, education and excellence in patient care. The membership consists of 1700 anesthesiologists and 1,000 other physicians, researchers, residents and anesthesia assistants.

Source:

CANADIAN ANESTHESIOLOGISTS' SOCIETY

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