ANESTHEOLOGISTS WAKE UP A doctors' group adopted standards last week designed to help keep patients from waking during surgery. But the physicians stopped short of embracing devices to monitor patient awareness.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists okayed its first standards for preventing a rare but terrifying situation: when patients wake up during surgery and may feel excruciating pain while immobilized.

Such awakenings occur in one or two cases out of every 1,000. The society called for using a checklist to make sure proper drug doses are being delivered.

But the group decided against adopting a new generation of brain-function monitors as a standard of care. While the machines can reveal an awakening, some doctors say there is not enough effectiveness data to require their use. The group said doctors can consider the devices on a case-by-case basis -- particularly in trauma surgeries and Caesarean sections, in which partial awareness is most likely.

STRESS HURTS One-quarter of 800-plus middle school children polled recently admitted to hurting themselves on purpose when stressed or upset. The 9- to 13-year-olds said things like, "I banged my head against the wall on purpose" or "I pinched myself really really hard."

"Emotion can be . . . overwhelming, and kids don't know how to handle it," said D'Arcy Lyness, a psychologist for Kidshealth.com, the poll's sponsor. "They sometimes blame themselves." Kids can cope with minor issues through distractions such as TV or video games. But parents should also talk to kids about their stresses, she said.

-- From News Services