Dr Edith Waugh
My name is Dr Edith Waugh and I will be your Anaesthetist. I will work closely with your surgeon to ensure you receive the best and safest care possible.
I am a Specialist Anaesthetist having qualified as a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). I graduated from University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery and also have a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Since graduating as a medical practitioner I have trained and worked in Melbourne and Darwin in Australia and in Oxford and Liverpool in United Kingdom. I have completed paediatric anaesthesia fellowships and have extensive training in Intensive Care Medicine and Aeromedical Retrieval Medicine. My further postgraduate qualifications, Masters in Perioperative Medicine, are a result of my active interest in perioperative management (pre, intra and post-operative care) of all the patients in my care.
My current roles:
- Staff Specialist Anaesthetist and Clinical Lead for Perioperative Medicine at Royal Darwin Hospital
- VMO Specialist Anaesthetists: Darwin Private Hospital and Darwin Day Surgery
What does it mean for you?
On the day of surgery it is my responsibility to assist you through the procedure in the safest and most comfortable way. I will assess you in the pre-operative area and answer any outstanding questions you might have. Once we have moved into the operating theatre the appropriate monitoring is attached to ensure your safety throughout the procedure and you will be provided with oxygen through the mask to breath on. Depending on your procedure I will administer the type of anaesthesia indicated: general anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia or sedation (or their combination). I will ensure that the appropriate level of anaesthesia and analgesia is provided at all times. Your surgeon then performs surgery whilst I continue to administer the required anaesthetic and monitor you continuously. At the end of the procedure I ensure safe emergence from anaesthesia and accompany you to the recovery room where you continue to be monitored until you are fully awake and your comfort is confirmed.
More information about anaesthesia is available through the professional bodies such as the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists: ANZCA: Patient information.
To help children understand anaesthesia and what to expect when they come for surgery there are helpful video resources: A Little Deep Sleep. The Darwin Private Hospital also has resources that can help you prepare for your upcoming visit with your child here.
What do you need to do?
As every person is different, pre-operative assessment is very important in order to give you the safest anaesthetic possible. This is why I require you to complete the Pre-Operative Questionnaire. I need to understand your complete medical history to choose the best anaesthetic medicine and technique for you. Please let me know if you have recently been unwell. Information you provide is confidential and secure.
To minimise aspiration risk, you will need to fast six hours before your operation, but can drink sips of water up to two hours before the surgery. If required, I will contact you prior to your procedure to confirm your fasting instructions and to discuss any issues including any modification to your regular medications peri-operatively.
What are the risks?
Australia is one of the safest countries in the world to undergo anaesthesia. Nonetheless, every anaesthetic involves risks.
The potential minor complications that do not affect long-term quality of life are sore throat, post-operative nausea and vomiting, discomfort or pain. Moderate complications occur with less frequency but are more troublesome: dental or lip damage. The major complications occur very rarely (same as risk of having a car accident) but can impact on long term functional capacity or quality of life. These include severe drug reactions such as anaphylaxis, awareness under anaesthesia, heart attacks, strokes, permanent cognitive deficits, nerve injuries leading to weakness, numbness and pain. Risk of dying due to anaesthesia is incredibly small.
I will discuss the risks relevant to you and your anaesthetic when we talk, but I would encourage you to ask me any specific questions that you might have.
What are the fees?
Anaesthetists’ fees are separate to the hospital and surgeon’s fees. The fee for your anaesthetic is dependent on the state of your health, the procedure and the time spent under the care of anaesthetist.
My anaesthetic fees are about 40-50 % less than fees suggested by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). The out-of-pocket expense is the result of the rebates being less than fees.
The rebate for Anaesthesia services in private settings comes from Commonwealth Government and Private Health Insurer). The government sets a benchmark for rebates in the Medical Benefit Schedule (MBS). In a private hospital the Commonwealth Government pays 75% of the MBS fee and 25% is paid by your Private Health Insurance company. These schemes still pay less than 50% of what AMA suggests is a reasonable value for Anaesthetic services. The “Gap” is the difference between doctor fee and relevant rebates. Not all Health Insurance companies are equal AMA Private Health Insurance Report Card 2017 and hence Gaps can be variable.
The anaesthetic fee may need to be paid in full before the day of surgery if you are having cosmetic surgery or you are uninsured.
All feedback welcome.
Once you have recovered from your admission to hospital, I would appreciate you taking just a few minutes to fill out the Post-operative Feedback Form. Your answers are completely anonymous and will help me greatly in improving the way I care for patients in the future.
I look forward to speaking to you in person.
Dr Edith Waugh
Dr Edith Waugh is an Anaesthetist based in NT - Northern Territory Australia.