Diagnosis of Aunt Besty

Was the anesthesia the cause of death?


Aunt Betsy went in early Tuesday morning for, what should've been, an easy surgery. She was scheduled to get her appendix out. She never woke up after her procedure and the doctors didn't know why.

I am a part of the CSI lab team. My team and I took lab samples of the anesthesia used during surgery to determine if too much was given to her, seeing if it caused the death of Aunt Betsy's.

Understanding Anesthetia

Anesthetics work by preventing sodium ions from going form one nerve cell to the next, which stops nerve cells from sending a message of pain to the brain. This tactic puts the body to sleep so there is no pain for the patient during an operation. Anesthesiologists need to know how much of the drug can be put in a particular person. Enough anesthesia needs to be used to keep them under the entire time, but nothing over 40% can be used on a patient or it's not normal and unsafe.

CSI Investigation using Beer's law

The head of the lab team prepared solutions of known, standard concentrations, which were then transferred to a cuvette that was placed in a Colorimeter. In that, the amount of light that went through the solution and hit the photocell is used to compute the absorbency of each solution. When the graph is plotted of absorbance vs. concentration it is for standard solutions. The direct relationship and concentration for a solution is a known as Beer's law curve. The concentration of an anesthesia solution is then determined by measuring its absorbance with the Colorimeter. Locating the absorbance of the unknown vertical axis of the graph, the corresponding concentration can be found on the horizontal axis or by using the slop of the Beer's law curve.

Understanding Making % Solutions

When the lab team performed the Beer's lab we had to create solutions. When we tested 0% of anesthesia we put 10ml of water in the cuvette and 0ml of anesthesia. When testing the 10% of anesthesia we had 1ml of anesthesia and 9ml of water. Every 10% that you went up in testing anesthesia you add another milliliter of anesthesia and decrease a milliliter of water. When we tested the anesthesia used during Aunt Betty's procedure , which the percent of anesthesia was unknown, it was placed on the graph at 30%, which has 3ml of anesthesia and 7ml of water.

Conclusion of Investigation

The Anesthesiologist from Aunt Betsy's surgery did the job correctly. She had 30% of anesthetics given to her and that is the correct amount. In conclusion to the CSI lab team investigation, she died of unknown causes and complications, while under surgery.