Medicus joins in celebrating Physician Anesthesiologists Week, held from January 29th to February 4th! It is estimated that there are over 42,000 active Anesthesiologists practicing in the United States. This week offers the perfect opportunity to reflect and raise awareness of anesthesiologists’ critical influence in healthcare.  

Prior to modern anesthesia, operations were extremely painful for patients. Although doctors and nurses enlisted the help of herbal remedies and creative distractions, it was impossible to achieve any true level of comfort. For years, they sought ways to perform painless surgical procedures, highlighted in some of the earliest recorded medical notes. The ability to finally perform comfortable procedures and keep the patient from enduring significant pain spearheaded many other advances and medical breakthroughs. In the early 20th century, these advances allowed anesthesiology to become a medical specialty!  

Today, we celebrate our anesthesiologists for their significant contribution to medicine and the specialty for its lengthy timeline and incredible advancements. Here are a few fast facts to honor this timeline and highlight a few of its most significant milestones.  

  1. Ever wonder where the phrase “bite the bullet” came from? Prior to the use of anesthesia during the American Civil War, doctors provided a bullet to bite on to wounded soldiers undergoing often gruesome procedures so the patient could concentrate on the bullet instead of the pain.  
  2. The Ether Dome at Mass General is a beautifully preserved piece of history. In the 1800s, over 8,000 operations occurred in this location, including the first painless surgery. Now, this teaching amphitheater is also a historical landmark, housing an oil painting of the famous surgery and displaying surgical tools.  
  3. Founded in 1905, The American Society of Anesthesiologists pledges to progress American medicine and remain an advocate for continual education and research in the anesthesiology field.  
  4. In 1927, Dr. Ralph M. Waters taught one of the world’s first university-based residency training programs in anesthesiology.  
  5. In 1940, the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) gained independent board status and helped define anesthesiology as a medical specialty, granting physicians formal recognition for their tremendous skill.  
  6. The American Society of Anesthesiologists Charitable Foundation was founded in 2011 with a mission to improve access to quality anesthesia and improve health and medical care in underserved communities. 
  7. New Jersey has the highest employment level in anesthesiologists, with 2,870 followed by New York, with 2,860 

Whether you’re seeking a new locum tenens opportunity, looking for your next permanent position, or simply observing the field’s advancements, we hope you enjoyed these fast facts! We thank our dedicated anesthesiologists for providing patient-centered care to our communities nationwide!