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Anesthesia and the Nature of Consciousness

Max Aguilera-Hellweg / The Atlantic

Anesthesia is often cited as one of the greatest advances in modern medicine. However, every once in a while, something goes wrong and a person wakes up in the middle of a procedure. The results can be deeply traumatic. The truth is, we don’t know how some anesthetic medicines work. But if we could find out, not only would patients remain safely comatose, the journalist Joshua Lang says we’d also close in on some deep questions about what it means to be conscious. Lang’s written an article about anesthesia and consciousness and he joins us Tuesday to discuss it.


Joshua Lang is a medical student at the UC Berkeley–UCSF Joint Medical Program. His article "Awakening" appears in the January/February issue of The Atlantic.

Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.