Friday, April 07, 2006

Holy blood, holy moly!

This is, briefly, how to anesthetize a patient with trauma and blood loss: Lie them flat, possibly with the head lower than the feet, to maximize blood flow to the heart and brain. Give them lots of oxygen for several minutes, if there's time. Run in fluid or blood to fluff up what's left of their circulation. Have a strong mechanical suction hose running--nothing they've eaten for many hours has passed the stomach, no oral meds will be absorbed, and it may all come back up, run straight into their lungs and choke them. Gently, gently run in your anesthetic agent--anything intravenous may be too strong, flatten the circulation and stop the heart, so you may need to have them breathe a vapour/oxygen mix. Get an assistant to press gently on the trachea as the patient goes to sleep, to help prevent reflux of stomach contents. After they're asleep, quickly pass a cuffed tube into the trachea to seal off the lungs, heave a small sigh of relief and run them on "air and a prayer" until they're stronger.

The reason I'm telling you this is that I just caught Michael Baigent, author of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" on CBC Radio One this morning, earnestly insisting that Jesus was quickly anesthetized with oral medication on a sponge, in the vertical position, with chin on chest. All this from several feet away, while crucified, then taken down unconscious and spirited away. Guaranteed to obstruct the airway and stop the heart. All I can say is, I wish I'd had magic like that on the many nights I spent in the OR. Sorry, but the human body just doesn't follow Michael Baigent's rules.

The theological expert the CBC had cleverly called in to refute him was a priest from "Opus Dei", of all people. He was gyrating anxiously as he made his points; no need--he should have been cackling with glee at such nonsense. Memo to Michael Baigent: Do your anesthesia research first.

To paraphrase the old saw, people who believe in nothing will believe anything.

1 comment:

Susannah said...

Yay, a post that isn't about nature! Or rather, a post that is about nature, but nature as it's commonly experienced rather than as it's depicted on Franklin Mint plates. Fascinating. I look forward to your dissection of the bad medicine involved in Hollywood depictions of death and labor.