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A terrifying surgical mistake: Anesthesia awareness

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2019 | Surgical Errors |

When you think of surgical mistakes, you probably think of the surgeon making a clear error. Wrong-site surgery is often cited. People worry about having the procedure done on the wrong body part and waking up to find out that their life has been forever altered.

That is an issue that you need to be aware of, and it does happen, but you should also know that some mistakes during surgery happen when the surgeon actually does his or her job perfectly. One of the most frightening is known as anesthesia awareness.

This happens when you do not have adequate anesthesia as the surgery is being carried out. A technician is supposed to monitor this, but mistakes happen. People get distracted. Monitors fail. For whatever reason, your brain wakes up before it is supposed to. You can hear and feel everything.

The problem is that your muscles are not awake. They’re still frozen and you’re essentially paralyzed. You may even appear to be unconscious, but you’re not. Though you feel the surgery, you have no way to tell the team what’s happening so that they can correct it.

Is this common? It doesn’t happen in most cases, but it is more common than a lot of people realize. It occurs in roughly one out of every 1,000 surgeries.

If you do have to endure the pain of any type of surgical error, including but not limited to anesthesia awareness, make sure you find out exactly what legal rights you have and how you may be able to seek financial compensation.


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