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World's First Transcontinental Anesthesia 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the ping-me-when-the-patient-is-asleep dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Medical Daily reports: 'Video conferences may be known for putting people to sleep, but never like this. Dr. Thomas Hemmerling and his team of McGill's Department of Anesthesia achieved a world first on August 30, 2010, when they treated patients undergoing thyroid gland surgery in Italy remotely from Montreal. The approach is part of new technological advancements, known as 'Teleanesthesia', and it involves a team of engineers, researchers and anesthesiologists who will ultimately apply the drugs intravenously which are then controlled remotely through an automated system.'"
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World's First Transcontinental Anesthesia

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  • Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:52AM (#33535380)

    World's First Transcontinental Anesthesia

    When I read that title and saw that picture, I thought they were talking about a service where an anesthesia team puts someone to sleep for a 14 hour transcontinental flight. Anyone else?

  • by alphax45 (675119) <kyle.alfred@gmail. c o m> on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:58AM (#33535448)
    Is there end to end encryption for this? What if a bit gets dropped? Is there a CRC above and beyond the standard CRC already done? Not sure I trust this...
  • Bad idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:00PM (#33535454) Homepage

    For one very simple reason: network outage. If the anesthesiologist is present, s/he can react if something goes wrong. If they aren't, the patient may well be SOL.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aolRASP.com minus berry> on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:08PM (#33535588) Journal

    This is truly a breakthrough, but not one with which I am particularly thrilled. I am definitely not comfortable with my life being in the hands of a doctor half way around the world with only a small view of what is going on, and one that depends entirely on network availability.

    Also, if something goes wrong that is beyond the scope of what the robot is capable of, how am I guaranteed a competent doctor will be right there locally ready to step in and take over?

    While this might be a big TECHNOLOGICAL advancement, I can't really see how this is a MEDICAL advancement or a viable cost-saving measure for health care.

  • by Chowderbags (847952) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:22PM (#33535750)
    Dunno about complete automation. Each patient is different, and it's a bit tougher than saying "pulse under 20, bad" or "O2 saturation under 90%, no more gas"(if you're getting operated on due to problems leading to hypoxemia, you want a way to override the settings) (I am neither a doctor nor an anesthesiologist, but I imagine that there's situations like that that aren't extremely rare).

    Maybe something more akin to autopilot, which is fine for most of the flight, but you still want a pilot there to deal with the trouble scenarios.
  • by Superdarion (1286310) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:45PM (#33536112)

    Well, my guess is that the idea is in the lines of schools via videoconference. I don't know about other parts of the world, but here in Mexico there are a lot of schools in faraway small communities, well outside the bulk of civilization, that have no teachers, just tv screens. There is one teacher in a major city broadcasting his/her class so that these schools can learn. There's a whole system with details that are unknown to me, but the system is there.

    So why use a doctor that's not physically there but on a videoconference? That's simple; if you need an emergency surgery and live in a remote island with only one doctor and a few nurses, this system might save your life.

  • Why in Idle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by treeves (963993) on Friday September 10, 2010 @01:21PM (#33536704) Homepage Journal
    Some Slashdot stories clearly belong in Idle and are not there. This is clearly the opposite case. It's not about entertainment or something funny and it's definitely technology related. Anyway, I'd like to know what my brother-in-law has to say about this. He's an anesthesiologist who has a home on the west coast [of the US] but works at a hospital in the midwest, so I'm sure he has an opinion about it!

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.