“We care-when you are unaware”
All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, was founded by an act of Parliament by Government of India in 1956, with the objective to develop patterns of training in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in all its branches so as to demonstrate a high standard of medical education to all medical colleges and other allied institutions in India; to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order for the training of personnel in all important branches of health activity; and to attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate medical education. Anaesthesiology was one of the main Clinical Departments to achieve the objectives and mandate of the Institute.
The Department of Anaesthesiology started in 1956, with two operation theatres and ICU in an “Old Operation Theatre” block under the leadership of Col. G.C.Tandon (1958-1970).
In 1958, Professor (Lt. Col.) G.C. Tandon was deputed to All India Institute of Medical Sciences and he was the Founder Professor and first Head of the Department of Anaesthesiology and also as a Medical Superintendent of AIIMS Hospital. Prof. Tandon was responsible for recognition of Anaesthesiology as a broad specialty related to Medicine and start for the first time M.D. (Anaesthesiology) training programme in 1959. This pattern has been nationally accepted. His efforts led to recognition of Anaesthesiology as an independent speciality related to Medicine by Medical Council of India in 1959, leading to creation of independent Departments and Professorships in most Medical Colleges. Prof. Tandon was the First President of Delhi Society of Anaesthesia in 1961, which was the forerunner of the present ISA Delhi branch. In 1964, Prof. Tandon was elected as the President of Indian Society of Anaesthetists at the last joint conference with Association of Surgeons in Bombay. He was the Editor of Indian Journal of Anaesthesia for a number of years.
In 1964, the Department’s administrative offices were shifted to “Teaching block”, 5th floor East wing, and the operation theatres were shifted to C & D blocks of 8th floor (12 operation theatres) in 1969.
The Department was subsequently headed by Prof. G.R. Gode (1970-1988). Prof. G.R. Gode joined the AIIMS Faculty in 1966 and rose to the post of Associate Professor and took over as Head of the Department in 1970 from Col. G.C. Tandon. He was elevated to the post of Professor in Anaesthesiology in 1975. He took active interest in the clinical trials in the management of human rabies. Due to him in 1979, the Australasian International Conference was held in A.I.I.M.S, New Delhi. He was honored as an Emeritus Scientist by the ICMR. Professor G.R. Gode retired on 31st March, 1988 after 34 years of an illustrious career as one of the pioneer Anaesthesiologist of the country.
Although Dr. V. A. Punnoose didn’t head the department, but his contribution in developing the department are tremendous. He did MD (Anaesthesia) at AIIMS in May 1967 and subsequently joined as faculty. Dr. Punnoose was a rare example of dedicated teacher. He was above all, a very honest, sincere and good human being. Dr. Punnoose was very accessible, friendly and always available for help without any hesitations or preconditions. He used to be seen in operation theatre complex almost 24 hours a day including holidays and weekends. His contribution to the teaching was phenomenal. His contribution to the research for the department was unforgettable. Dr Punnoose devoted his full time attention to setting up anaesthetic services in the cardiac center. He was one of the pioneer in this field and established standards of practice which was followed by a number of departments which came up later in both government and private sector. He resigned the faculty position at AIIMS in 1983. His popularity among the students was so great that even after retirement from the institute; he was mobbed by them whenever or wherever they got a chance to meet him.
Till 1984, services to all subspecialties of Anaesthesiology (Cardiothoracic-vascular, Neuro-anaesthesiology and Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital) were supported by the staff of the main Department in addition to their own staff till they established themselves.
Prof. H. L. Kaul (1988-2004), took over as HOD from Professor G.R.Gode. He is the first postgraduate student of the Department who became Head of the Department in1988. He post-graduated from AIIMS. in 1970 and joined as a Faculty in September, 1971. He is the founder member of the Research Society of Anaesthesiology and Allied Sciences (RSAAS) and Research Society of Anaesthesiology and Clinical Pharmacology. The Journal of Anaesthesiology and Clinical Pharmacology was started by him. He was the Chief Editor of the Journal till December1999. He was one of the founder member of the South Asian Confederation of Anaesthesiologists (SACA) and Asian and Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia (1999-2001) and was holding important portfolios of other societies. He had conducted several National and International Workshops, Conferences and Congresses.
Prof. Chandralekha (2004-2006 and 2007-2015), took over from Prof. Kaul in April 2004. She was instrumental in upgrading the AB8 ICU and AB8 Recovery Area. She also started state of the art Human Anaesthesia Simulator training courses. She conducted successful three ‘ “International Conferences on Recent advances in Anaesthesia and Analgesia (INCRAA)”.
Prof. Ravi Saksena (2006-2007) headed the department for a very brief period, but during this period he started Anaesthesia Services in JPNA Trauma center. He was the Chairperson for Emergency Response Centre and also started Course on “Life Saving AnaesthesiaSkills” training (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare) for the doctors posted in peripheral areas.
Prof. M. K. Arora, retired on the 31st of October 2017, he had taken over as Head of Department in March 2015. During his tenure as HOD, the Department was renamed as Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain Medicine and Critical Care and the DM Critical care programme was started. Anaesthesia services were expanded to support operations in the Centre for Dental Education and Research (CDER), in the GE Endoscopy area and Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences Casualty OT (for EUAs in children). Training sessions for OT Technicians were started. The Department strength increased to 39 faculty members.
The Department was headed by Prof Ravinder Batra till August 31st 2018. From 1st August 2018, Dr Rajeshwari Subramaniam has taken over the charge of the Department till date.
The Department organized the annual IAPA conference, Ultrasound conference, Post Graduate Assembly, Critical Care update on Mechanical ventilation from Nov 2018 up to mid-2019. The Department was heavily damaged by fire in August 2019, which forced the Faculty to abandon their offices. The porta cabin rooms in the PAC clinic area were equipped with internet and appropriate office furniture and the Department operated from there till May 2020. At the peak of COVID epidemic the Department was cleaned by staff themselves, and by August 2020 the Department could shift back to the original office. Meanwhile, Prof. Maya superannuated on May 2021.
The Department was given additional charge of managing the COVID-suspect patients , and ultimately hundreds of critically ill COVID- 19 patients in C6, D6 and AB6 which was accomplished in a smooth and efficient manner.
At present, the Department provides protocolled anaesthesia and ICU services to General Surgery, Obstetric and Gynaecology, IVF, ENT, Orthopaedics, Urology, Paediatric Surgery, GI surgery, RP Centre of Ophthalmic theatres, CDER (Oral and Maxillofacial surgery) and JPNA Trauma centre; it also provides peripheral anesthesia services to interventional radiology, MRI, CT scan, ECT, acute and chronic pain services, resuscitation and obstetric analgesia services.
Over the years, along with the development of Medical Sciences, the Department has set up its own high standards in patient care, education and research. All operation theatres are equipped with state of the art anaesthesia machines, facilities for invasive blood pressure and CVP monitoring, Entropy and BIS monitoring and coagulation monitoring and rapid fluid infuser for major surgery and ultrasonography for regional anesthesia blocks and for vascular access.
Intensive Care Unit (AB 8 ICU) at 8th floor, adjoining operation theatre is equipped with modern ventilators, multiparameter monitors, ultrasonography, and echocardiography machine and, a dedicated laboratory. The ICU caters to post surgical and medical patients. The department has also purchased and installed the latest version of ECMO machine. The first ECMO was carried out in last week of February.
The AB8 post anesthesia recovery room (PACU) is the one of the state of the art recovery room and is equipped with multi-parameter monitors, patient controlled analgesia (PCA)/opioid infusion pumps, anaesthesia machine and defibrillator machine for emergency requirement.
Pre-Anaesthesia Check-up (PAC) Clinic: Referred patients scheduled for surgical/investigative procedures are screened in the PAC Clinic which is located in room no 4 / 5, 4th floor Porta Cabin OPD block from 2pm to 5pm on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with prior appointment. From 15th January, 2018, onwards, PAC Clinic will be functional from 9am to 12 noon five days a week i.e., Monday to Friday.
Pain Clinic: Patients suffering from Acute and Chronic pain are referred in this Clinic for treatment. This Clinic is situated AB 7 ward (7th Floor) “Pre Anaesthesia Room” (PAR) area, from 2pm to 5pm on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In the pain clinic, facilities for various modalities of pain therapy viz., radio-frequency ablation, neurolytic block, TENS, Acupuncture, Acupulsor, etc. are available. Image guided interventional pain management procedures are carried out once a week (Thursday) in the operation theatre.
Research Society of Anaesthesiology and Allied Sciences (RSAAS): The mandate of this society is to promote research and academics among the faculty and residents of the department.
The Department started “Research Society of Anaesthesiology & Clinical Pharmacology’in 1982 under the leadership of Prof. H.L. Kaul. Subsequently, “Journal of Anaesthesiology and Clinical Pharmacology” was started with Prof. H. L. Kaul as a Chief Editor, this was being published and edited for many years from the Department of Anaesthesiology.
Department regularly conducts National & International conferences, workshops and Continuous Medical Education programs.
Postgraduate course (MD) is of three years duration and includes a thesis. The selection of Junior Residents for post-graduates course is made twice a year i.e. in January and July. Diploma course in anesthesia is not available for this speciality. Apart from regular seats sponsored candidates from different states and countries are also allowed to join the course as per the rules of the institute. The selection is based on an All-India entrance examination.
All postgraduate students are rotated in all surgical specialties, Intensive Care, Pre Anesthesia clinics and Pain clinics. The Department has fixed guidelines for anaesthetic procedures to be undertaken and the curriculum planning for the junior residents. Thesis writing is mandatory for partial fulfilment for the final MD examination. AIIMS post graduate teaching is one of the best teaching programme which consists of seminars, journal clubs, case discussion, tutorials and Guest lectures (4 days a week), All Junior and Senior Residents take part in the didactic teaching activities regularly under the faculty moderation. This is in addition to daily teaching activity based on the cases conducted in the operation theatres & Intensive Care Unit.
The Department has got the latest “Human Simulator” and skill development lab for teaching and hands on training of anesthesia, vascular access, central neuraxial blockade, peripheral nerve blockade and emergency scenarios including CPR. The simulator is also used for teaching and assessing Non-Technical Skills (NTS).
The tenure of Senior Residency is of three-year duration, during which, Residents are rotated in all subspecialties and Intensive Care Unit for imparting excellent training in this specialty.
The name of the department has been changed to “Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain Medicine and Critical Care” w.e.f. 4th June, 2015.
From January 2016, the Department also started three year DM (Critical Care Medicine) course with intake of five students per session (regular 4, sponsored 1).