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Tell Your Patients to Drink Up - Outpatient Surgery Magazine - March 2019

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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family ever had a problem with anesthesia. Upon learning about my brother, the anesthesiologist said, "Wow, that sounds like this thing called malignant hyperthermia that we didn't really know about back then." While we still didn't know for sure if it was MH that took Will, the OR team took the appropriate MH precautions during my mother's surgery. Flash forward to the early 2000s. I was in medical school and then residency, on my way to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Obviously, I had a lot on my mind, like any young doctor-in-training. But when MH came up during lectures, I was unusually attentive. Now, I'd never been tested for MH, because the diagnostic test is a muscle biopsy — a fairly large piece of muscle, about as big around and a little bit longer than your thumb, taken out of your lateral thigh. In the OR, however, I absolutely operated under the assumption that, because of what happened to Will, I was possibly MH-susceptible. I always make sure to tell the anesthesia personnel I'm working with that I could possibly have a genetic mutation that causes MH. That way, they'd know what was happening in case I ever lost concious- ness while performing surgery due to vented gases that could trigger an MH event. Fortunately, nothing like that ever happened. In fact, I've yet to experience an MH crisis in the OR — with myself or with a patient — and I hope I never do. The day of reckoning — the day I had to know, for sure, if I was sus- ceptible to MH — finally arrived in 2010, during a scary time in my growing family's life. My wife was experiencing a complicated pregnancy with our third child, and we were pretty certain our newborn boy was going to need surgery. Knowing the MH mutation is genetic, I had no choice but to undergo the muscle biopsy in hope that we wouldn't need to worry about MH for my son. It's a good thing I did, too. We found out con- 6 4 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • M A R C H 2 0 1 9

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