To most of the general populace, anesthesiology is a mystery. Asking around, an anesthesiologist's job is crudely equated to that of a boxer – earning an income on knocking people out. Although there exists the common stereotype that a good anesthesiologist requires no extrinsic gratitude or appreciation, over the course of a career, it can be quite frustrating at times to not be better understood by patients or colleagues. How exactly can we remedy this problem?

To answer this question, we must first look at the developments over the past few decades in general anesthesia. It's not the public's fault that their view of anesthesia is seemingly elementary or one-dimensional – for much of the specialty's history, the field was seen as being hyper focused on the elimination of pain during surgical procedures (J Invest Surg 2012;25:141-9). Only in the past 20 or so years has anesthesiology taken...

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