The use of Ether to render a patient unconscious for surgery was first administered in the United States in 1846. Over the next 170 plus years, many advances have been made in the field of Anesthesia. New medications and technology have evolved to make anesthesia safer, more comfortable to the patient and more predictable.
Each year, approximately 40 million anesthetics are administered to patients in the United States. Anesthesia, which ranges from the local numbing of the portion of the body where the surgery is to be performed to rendering a patient completely asleep, is an essential part of any surgical procedure.
Anesthesia is administered by medical professionals that include Anesthesiologists (medical doctors) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) in hospital operating rooms, ambulatory surgery centers and physician (and dental) offices.
While modern medicine has made anesthesia generally safe, it is not without significant risk. There are certain anesthesia-related injuries and deaths which are unavoidable. However, many other anesthesia injuries and deaths are completely preventable and directly due to negligence by the anesthesia personnel caring for the patient.