Anesthesia Flix Fix: Episode Four!


Hello everyone out there!  Let me get a show of hands…Who LOVES OB Anesthesia???  C’mon raise those hands high, keep them up.  I know who you are.  Well do I have a treat for you all today on this fourth installment in the Anesthesia Flix Fix series.  Hopefully you like it.

Today’s candidate movie was fairly well received back in 2012.  It’s totally Sci-Fi with all that intergalactic travel that requires everyone to be put into cryosleep or suspended animation of some sort just to get where they’re going.  Spoiler alert:  It’s got aliens…lots of ugly aliens.  So if you’re like me and you don’t understand what all of today’s hype about the zombie apocalypse is, we can watch this movie together and harken back to the good ole days when all that stood between us and getting home to happy hour was sending a couple of slimy sticky aliens back to Kingdom Come.

But like every movie that I write about for Anesthesia Flix Fix, this movie holds a special place in my heart because it sort of reminds me that my career is somewhat of a black box to most of the movie-going public.  But by virtue of the fantastical scenes depicted in this movie and others, I realize that the practice of anesthesia today really is somewhat vaunted and put up on a pedestal.  This is a far cry from the days of old when anesthesia was routinely depicted, quite literally, under the operating table:


Closeup of “Rational Medicine”, Bernard Zakheim, UCSF Toland Hall Murals, 1938  [The anesthesiologist depicted under the operating table in this mural is none other than Dr. Arthur Guedel of “Signs of Anesthesia” fame…anyone?]

But we understand that these photos and frescos were just depicting a moment in time under the watchful anesthesiologist’s eye and not meant to be completely accurate.  I mean, look at the above mural again…when do you ever have pathology right there when you need them for frozen section?  Nota bene:  As a rule, I will duck under the operating table to check on the urine output in the Foley bag anytime an administrator, photographer, mural painter, anyone suspicious comes into my OR.

Before I get too far off course, let’s get back to our movie and why it makes the cut to be featured in Anesthesia Flix Fix.  Ask a hundred people off the street to name the best gory operating room scene in recent movie times…ok, you might have to ask a thousand.  But I guarantee you (based on my countless hours of YouTube research) that more than a few will pick out Ridley Scott’s 2012 prequel to the Alien series: Prometheus and it’s nightmarish C-section scene from hell.  I remember watching this on a cross-country red-eye flight on my fold-down tray-table (with headphones, thank you very much) and experiencing the uncomfortable writhing hilarity of this truly-gut-wrenching scene, along with some of my fellow passengers on the flight who had congregated in the aisle beside me while waiting for the lavatory to vacate themselves. The reactions were all pretty much disbelief and disgust…pretty much on par with my own.  Now that’s entertainment!

I’ve captured the scene in all it’s Blueray-ripped glory for your viewing pleasure:

Wow.  Right?  Clearly a lot for us medically-minded people to like here.  From the push-button voice-activated patient self-diagnosis and self-scheduling to the robotically-trained laser scalpel with apparently x-ray vision…there is so much for us to look forward to in the OR of tomorrow.  But most of the scene obviously is an homage to the OB Anesthesia-mares that we have all been awakened by in the night.  Just the other day I was asked to do a crash C-section under local anesthesia so that the OB could practice.  Um…let me check on that and get right back to you after I finish intubating mom.  Not.  And how many times have you seen an OB do a forceps delivery vs. how many times have you heard an OB simply ask to have forceps opened up and ready?  Mercifully, forceps delivery via Pfannenstiel incision remains basically unheard of (although, if life continues to imitate art…).  And delivering the baby within an intact amniotic sac only to have it pop like a piñata and shower amniotic fluid all over the F’ing place?  Niiiice touch.  I could not even have dreamt that one up.  But there it is, all these random freakish things that are individually not so far removed from reality…all in one dramatic and memorable scene!  And despite all this craziness, nightmare or not, Hollywood understands that everyone likes a happy ending, complete with healthy mama and FLaK (Funny Looking alien Kid).

So that’s your Anesthesia Flix Fix for today.  I’m exhausted.  A couple of housekeeping items, though… If you liked this “review” please rate it accordingly below.  If you didn’t like it, forget I ever mentioned it.  At any rate please consider bookmarking ( or following this blog.  There’s an email signup in the right sidebar, and you can also follow @gopassgas on both Facebook and Twitter.


There’s always more information that I want to get out to my readers than I can incorporate in good conscience.  So I’m going to just put it down here.  Movie Trivia:  Charlize Theron “co-starred” in this movie forgettably.  You know who else was in this movie???  The Kublai Khan from Netflix’s original series Marco Polo.  And no, he wasn’t one of the aliens.  Rather, he’s the Asian dude with the Jersey accent.  Sadly I have just been informed that Netflix has cancelled the series after two great seasons.

I also wanted to mention the expert and expeditious stapling job that the robot did in the movie to close up Dr. Shaw’s skin incision.  If this is the way of the future, then why do almost all of the OBs that I work with insist on closing skin with a straight Keith needle???  Nothing like a closure that takes longer than the surgery itself.

Last but not least, here is Dr. Arthur Guedel’s first “Signs of Anesthesia” as scribbled down in 1937.  Amazing stuff from the Days of Giants.


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