At what cost?

Hip and knee operations ‘should be done under local anesthetic to help cut carbon emissions’
Switching 1 million hip and knee operations to local anaesthetic would save the equivalent of 7.3 million miles driven in a car

Sure, OK, we can see the benefit, reduced emissions. But what’s the cost?

For example, 7.3 million miles, average car does 11,600, average annual emissions from average car 4.6 tonnes, each tonne CO2 cost of $80 as per Stern, that’s a net emissions benefit of $232,000 a year.

Cool, what’s the cost? Each life is statistically worth $2 million – say, there’s a range of values – so does our use of local not general increase the chance of a death by one tenth of a death over all those treated? Actually, gien that general is itself dangerous it probably reduces but still, this is the sort of calculation we should be doing.

Sure, there’s a benefit to this as with anything else. But we also need to know the cost.

25 thoughts on “At what cost?”

  1. Dunno how the Hacks do it in the UK, but over here in Clogland the “smaller” operations on the major joints are already done under local anaesthetic/spinal anaesthetic when possible. Only full replacements are done under full anaesthetic, since well…. full replacement.. It’s not pretty nor subtle..
    Or when a patient states (s)he really doesn’t want to know… very valid reason imnsho…

    Main reason for this is that it shaves off time in recovery, releasing the patient for home revalidation faster, and that it keeps a patient in the most unhealthy place possible : a hospital, for a minimized amount of time.
    Having the patient lucid and responsive during the operation is seen as a bonus.
    Efficiency, maybe the NHS has heard of it….

    Naught to do with The Environment…. Sounds to me as an experiment in extreme beancounting to me…

  2. “does our use of local not general increase the chance of a death by one tenth of a death over all those treated? Actually, given that general is itself dangerous it probably reduces but still, this is the sort of calculation we should be doing.”

    Locals are a lot less dangerous than generals, and the effects wear off in hours, whereas whenever I’ve had a general anaesthetic it’s taken up to six months to get over it. Both times I’ve had a pacemaker fitted/replaced they did it under local anaesthetic, which makes for an interesting experience.

  3. The Meissen Bison

    Switching 1 million hip and knee operations to local anaesthetic would save the equivalent of 7.3 million miles driven in a car

    So Switching 1 hip or knee operation to local anaesthetic would save the equivalent of 7.3 miles driven in a car.

    That’s a round trip to our nearest supermarket.

    Absurd!

  4. “So Switching 1 hip or knee operation to local anaesthetic would save the equivalent of 7.3 miles driven in a car.”

    There are better reasons than that, as Arthur has pointed out.

  5. The Meissen Bison

    @JtD – Certainly, but they don’t relate to carbon emissions unless I’m missing something.

  6. Both times I’ve had a pacemaker fitted/replaced they did it under local anaesthetic, which makes for an interesting experience.

    I didn’t realise this happened until quite recently when a family friend had one fitted. She was rather surprised too…

  7. Being charitable here.
    Someone has noted that local anaesthetics can be better than general. See G above.
    They have also noted that CO² reduction is the cause du jour.
    Hence they sell the idea of local by reference to CO² reduction.

  8. Am I the only person locals don’t actually work on? Or if they do, it’s some considerable time after the procedure I’ve been localled for has long finished.

  9. Interesting comments, so the green shit (as so often) is just more irrelevant leftie nonsense. At which point I hovered over the link assuming (obviously) that it would be the Guardian…. What Ecks said.

  10. Not to worry, we’l saved the planet by not doing any elective surgery for four months. Then we’ll only do half the usual numbers. An eternal waiting list saves emissions, so much more important than lives.

  11. @BIS similar thing happened to me. Had the local. Waited 10 minutes. Then a man shoved a huge needle into a nodule at the base of my finger to inject it with an enzyme. It was excruciating. 6 hours later, the anaesthetic kicked in and I couldn’t feel my hand at all. It was like a brick

  12. My father had a pacemaker fitted. He also had a gismo in the bedroom which monitored it remotely every night, and transmitted the results to the hospital. No visits to the hospital for tests, only to have nobs twiddled very occasionally. Rather wonderful, I thought.

  13. This is the sort of dumb shit you get when government runs things. Every bit of the establishment agenda infests the operation. It’s why all these outsourced bids tend to be about 20% cheaper than the NHS. They just get the fucking job done.

  14. As I have pointed out before, my recent experience of an NHS op under local anaesthetic was that it wore off before the op was finished. It was a wee bit sore.

    Naturally the surgeon and the anaesthetist didn’t come to my bedside to ask how I was. Cowardly cunts.

  15. My wife had a hip replacement last December. Full knock out, job done, out of the hospital same day. The replacement is a massive, 2+ hour job. I would definitely vote for the full sleep.

  16. DocBud, if you’re really lucky the surgeon/barber holds the saw over a candle first.

    I’ve had two ops with spinal and the injections BLOODY HURT. One of them was on my knee and the crunchy sounds coming from down there were rather worrying.

  17. First of all it will not cut ‘carbon’ emissions, but carbon dioxide emissions. Why can nobody in the Ecofascist movement speak in whole molecules?

    Next. Why do we want to cut carbon dioxide emissions? Carbon dioxide is colourless, non-toxic, non-flammable, non-corrosive gas essential for all life on the Earth. The higher the atmospheric concentration, it is very low at the moment, the better for plant growth, plants for food and plants in natural settings particularly deserts.

    As for the global warming deceit, the contribution from Man-made CO2 to the very small increase in average global temperature is so small it is indistinguishable from natural emissions, and its alleged dominant contribution is found only in computer models and in the lies that roll off the tongues of some climate ‘scientists’ and in the empty heads of the political goon squad.

  18. Locals are slow with me, as a teenager had a toenail removed, couple of locals and out it was yanked, which I loudly objected to. My mother fled the scene and was eventually stopped by a friend asking her why she was running out of the hospital.

  19. So what – we get a “Stern Benefit” of $231K for changing procedure in 1 Million hip and knee operations. That comes to 23¢ per patient. I suspect they would view their possible discomfort as being worth more than that – and that’s before we go into whether Stern had the discount rate right (he didn’t) or whether there’s any need for concern about Carbon Dioxide emissions (very likely not).
    I can never understand the inability of some people to understand scale – I see it all the time: “if everybody in Canada unplugged all their wall warts, we could save enough energy to power 200 households!” or some-such. Sure 200 households sounds like a lot (just like 7.3 million miles) – but it represents about 1 out of every 50,000 households in the country. In my suburb of ~160,000 people, it probably represents one house. Put it that way: “If all of you clambered around on your knees every time you wanted to plug in your computer or charge your phone, we could power one more house in the whole city!” and it sounds much less impressive.

  20. As I have pointed out before, my recent experience of an NHS op under local anaesthetic was that it wore off before the op was finished. It was a wee bit sore.

    That’s pretty much always my experience. I’ve stopped getting anaesthetic for routine dentistry like fillings, because I end up feeling it anyway. Likewise when having moles cut out etc, I usually end up feeling the stitches going in at the end.

    Now that I know, it’s no issue. I just expect to feel much of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *