Jill Zafar, MD, is an anesthesiologist who cares for patients undergoing all types of surgical procedures, specializing in ambulatory surgery and perioperative medicine (which covers the patient’s needs from admission through recovery). She is medical director of preadmission testing at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and its affiliated centers.
Dr. Zafar became an anesthesiologist partly because she was fascinated by pharmacokinetics, the term for the movement of drugs within the body. She was intrigued by the way the right medications can give the anesthesiologist the ability to make someone fall asleep and then wake up quickly, or change a person’s heart rate or blood pressure.
“I am also humbled by the fact that patients put their life and trust into my hands at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” says Dr. Zafar. It helps that anesthesiology is safer than ever before, she says. Efforts such as several “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery” programs at YNHH that aim to maintain organ function and reduce stress for patients are making a difference, she says, as is multimodal pain management, including nerve blocks, that allow people to get back on their feet quickly.
An assistant professor of anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Zafar wants people anticipating surgery to know that they can always speak to an anesthesiologist in the YNHH preadmission testing center. “There is no question too simple,” she says. The anesthesiologist also can provide valuable advice on healthy eating, exercise, and quitting smoking before surgery, she adds. “There is a lot that patients can do to help us provide them with a speedy recovery.”