for some more background information, now that we’re getting all technical, see
Relative Risk of Anesthesia Compared to Air Travel
Clearly, we cannot point to a record of no anesthesia related death in the last decade. Even a death rate of 1 in 1 million anesthetics would be far better than we can boast. The death risk is sometimes calculated as the deaths attributable to accidents in 100 million hours of exposure. Assuming a death risk of 1 in 10 million for commercial aviation and assuming an average of 2 hours per domestic flight, the death risk would be about 5 per 100 million hours of exposure. If we assume a preventable anesthetic mortality of 1 in 100,000 and assuming the average anesthetic to last about 2 hours, the anesthesia death risk would be 500 per 100 million hours of exposure. Feel free to play with the data. If you think the average anesthetic lasts longer or shorter, or if you believe anesthetic mortality to be higher or lower than these data used here just plug them into the formula. You won’t be able to get away from the fact that anesthesia is far less safe than flying as a passenger with one of the big commercial airline companies.[/quote]
while there are nurses who do post grad qualifications for anaestheisa, and there is even an ‘american association of nurse anesthesiologists’, i would still be reluctant to allow one to perform same for me if there was a better option, such as not having a general. specialist anaesthetists (anesthesiologists in the states) have a better mortality record: there are about 7 excess deaths per 1000 cases with complications among US nurse anaesthetists.
see ‘Mortality Rates Are Lower after Surgery when an Anesthesiologist Directs Anesthesia Care’
all said, though, the death rate from general anaesthetics has plummeted from about 1 per 10,000 to less than 1 per 100,000 or better, depending on where you are, since the 1980s saw the introduction of better monitors and rescue drugs like dantrolene sodium. australia still tops the world in anaesthesia success, with about 1 death per 200,000 atttributale to the anaesthesia process alone.
see AANA J. 2002 Jun;70(3):193-202.
A synthesis of the Australian Patient Safety Foundation Anesthesia Incident Monitoring Study, the American Society of Anesthesiologists Closed Claims Project, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Closed Claims Study.