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Awake Under The Knife

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posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 12:31 AM

Awake Under The Knife
WASHINGTON -- There is a rare but frightening phenomenon in the operating room: some patients have been waking up during surgery.

Awake Under The Knife

The problem is called Anesthesia Awareness and there's a new effort in hospitals to try to prevent it.

Carol Weihrer of northern Virginia recalled how her nightmare unfolded six years ago. During surgery to remove her diseased right eye, she woke up.

"I was thinking clearly as I'm talking to you now. I heard the surgeon say to the resident, 'Cut deeper. Pull harder.' I saw them clip the optic nerve. Everything went black," Weihrer said..

Even though she knew what was happening, there was nothing she could do to stop it. She had been given general anesthesia that included a drug that left her temporarily paralyzed and powerless.

"I was screaming at the top of my lungs, but I knew no sound was coming out," Weihrer said.

Anesthesia Awareness happens when a patient isn't given enough anesthesia. It's more likely in some cases, such as traumas, open-heart surgery and emergency cesarean sections. In those cases, it's too dangerous to give patients high doses of anesthesia.

Doctors estimate that 20,000 to 40,000 patients experience awareness each year. That's rare considering about 21 million people are given general anesthesia annually.

However, the group that accredits the nation's hospitals says awareness is "under recognized and under treated." And it wants that to change.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This must be horrible. Being awake and aware as surgeons play with your insides. Has this ever happened to any of you who've had surgery? Did you feel pain when it happened?

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 12:44 AM
I've heard of this before. You would think the anesthesiologist would see massive spikes in heart rate, brain activity, or others parameters.

Come to think of it, brain activity is probably not monitored in most surgeries. I would imagine if it was monitored, it would surely show something extaordinary when a patient becomes concious.

Probably one of the worst "hell on earth" scenarios you could think of. I'm curious if the pain is felt as well or is it just a general awareness of the surgery?

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 12:47 AM

Originally posted by OpenMinded
I'm curious if the pain is felt as well or is it just a general awareness of the surgery?

Exactly. That's the thing im wondering about. Because I don't know what the big deal is if you where just aware as long as you didn't feel any pain. But if you felt the pain as they tear into whatever part they're working on then that would really suck.

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 01:03 AM
*Shivers* This is a scary scenario...

Hmm, if a local anesthetic is given with the drip or the gas, I would imagine pain would be limited, but if it was happy buzz drip and gas, and the gas wore off. Damn...


posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 02:53 PM
Hi friends,

This is my first post (yeah, I'm a lurker--when I have time to lurk, that is). I'd never heard of Anesthesia Awareness until after it happened to me back in 1995. I was 32, a wife and mom of two children, and I woke up during an appendectomy...while the surgeon was tugging on my appendix, about to snip...and for the next fifteen to twenty min, I was locked in hellish agony. Unable to move, unable to scream. (During general anesthesia, I was given two drugs. One was to keep me unconscious; the other was to paralyze my muscles, to keep them from twitching during surgery. The knockout drug wore off, but the paralyzing agent didn't.) The thing I remember most, aside from the terrible pain, was the screaming inside of my head and how I tried so hard to move, to let the surgical team know I was awake. It was a horrible thing, being able to hear them talking and working on me--I could even feel the tape over my eyelids!--and being totally unable to communicate. Physically, it nearly killed me. Emotionally, it took six months to get back to "normal" after battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and full-blown panic attacks.

There's so much more I could tell you, but my hands are shaking badly, remembering how awful this experience was. I did manage to write it all down (took me a long time to do it); so if anyone's interested, it's coming out in print in Morbid Curiosity Magazine in their Spring '05 issue. I don't mean that to sound like a shameless plug; it's not--I just want folks to know where they can find my story.


posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 03:49 PM
Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us, Smile - it must have been very hard for you as you have been through a very traumatic experience; actually that is ab out the worst thing I could ever imagine to happen to me

I had an op about a year back where they had to set and put 6 screws in my ankle - man that would have been hell if i was awake.

Something must be done about this, maybe like OM said - they should monitor brain activity!

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 05:31 PM
My son was born via C-section nearly 3 years ago, and I could feel it just a teensy bit. Not bad enough to freak me out, but enough to know that I really don't want to go through that again.

Then again, my baby boy was worth it.
Hey--I've heard that Chinese do C-sections with acupuncture--no anaesthetic!

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 05:37 PM
Wow, Smile. That had to have been worse than words. Sorry you went through that.

I've had four spinal taps, and though they numb me, I wonder how much I am not supposed to feel. The numbing hurts pretty bad, but I can feel the needles going in to drain fluid, I can feel the doctor attaching the gauge to the needle, and I can feel it being withdrawn. I wonder what it would feel like without...actually, no, I think I'd rather not find out.

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 05:38 PM
During my first surgery, I have the drip and the gas, I dreamed the entire sirgury.

On my second sirgury I have a nerve block that numb half of my brain and side, and general anesthesia, I dreamed also but while I remember the dream in my first sirgury I could not remember the dream in the second one.

Also my brain stayed numb on one side for 24 hours and I can barely remember what I did or say during that time. My childre said I was funny looking.

[edit on 18-11-2004 by marg6043]

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 05:39 PM
Computer is possessed. Was a repeat post. Sorry....

[edit on 11/18/2004 by gop627]

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 05:39 PM
Refer to last post...

Again, sorry for any inconveniences.

[edit on 11/18/2004 by gop627]

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 09:23 PM
As most people here already know, I went through burn treatment in 1969 and most of that was without any pain medication, at all. Even when they were giving me narcotics, I would refuse the shot until after the scrub treatment, so that I could have the full effect for a longer period. Also, they would not wait for the drug, administered IM, time to take effect before the treatment started, so it seemed better to me to just wait until it was all over.

Personally, I would rather have too much anesthesia than too little and my heart really goes out to those who have endured this trauma. Twenty to thirty thousand is a huge number, regardless of the percentages and all statistics are meaningless when it is you who must endure the pain.

Still, the one for whom this happens, it is a one time event. I probably had twenty scrub treatments.

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 09:40 PM
I don't know how it is when you awake during a procedure but I know what it's like when you are under local anesthesia and having your tongue sewn back together. Your tongue is paralyzed and you can feel the tugging of the stitches and tearing of the suture needle through your tongue through your entire head. It is a very weird feeling. Of course, I was awake at the time but the feeling of not being able to move your tongue in reaction was unnerving.

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 10:12 PM
I also had rhinoplasty to correct a deviated septum under local anesthesia. The shots to administer the anesthesia were very painful and I could feel the anesthesia dripping down my throat, which was unpleasant.

The surgery was pretty painless, but the procedure of having my nose broken twice and the removal of bone and cartilage during the surgery was quite unnerving.

At one point, the surgeon chewed out a nurse for having done something wrong and sent her to rescrub for the surgery.

Then, after he explained to her in very graphic language the proper way to hit the chisel, which he would hold, with the hammer, she hit the chisel so hard, my head bounced off the table. The second time was better, but breaking bone requires a certain amount of violence.

When he began to sew me up, it hurt and he offered to give me more anesthesia. I asked what he was doing and when he said he was stitching up my nose, I told him to just hurry up and get it over with. The stitches couldn't hurt worse than the shots.

It wasn't the worst experience of my life, but I would never go through it again, unless it was absolutely necessary.

[edit on 04/11/18 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 10:33 PM
Smile, thanks for sharing that with you. I can't even imagine how it felt for you.

I hope you are better now and that is way behind you.


posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 10:41 PM
I had the same experience as Smile, except I've done it several times. I woke up during a tonsillectomy when I was 8, and came fully awake... and screamed. Scared the heck out of the doctors.

Woke up under a C-section and had the exact same experience as Smile, trying to do anthing to get parts of my body to let them know that I was awake, including trying to make my heart race or my eyelids twitch or ANYTHING.

I did find that both warning the doctors that I'm drug resistant and asking them to monitor closely because I do have this tendency AND to use some self-hypnosis relieved the problem for the last two surgeries.

I'd rather not go through that again.

posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 11:07 PM
I woke during a surgery on my right wrist about 4 weeks ago. I had told the surgeon that during the first surgery I had a few years back they had to restrain me while I was under because I was swinging at all who came near me (unconsciously, of course). He said not to worry about it, they would take precautions, and I guess they did because I awoke half way through and saw my left arm strapped down to the table. I couldnt move at all, but I felt nothing. Although I was aware of everything I could see I was not worried at all. I just remember trying to look down at my right wrist out of curiosity, but not caring to much that I could not turn my head to look. I also remember wondering if it was normal that I could see and coming to the conclusion that most people probably see but that I would not remember it. I really wish that my head had been pointed down at the surgery site, I think it would have been cool to watch them work on me.

After they surg., I asked the doc. if that was normal and he said no, and looked concerned and uncomfortable. He asked me to write a statement saying I felt no pain and was not bothered, but my right hand was useless and I could not. He said the only reason I didnt panic was that he had the anesthesiologist give me morphine to keep me calm when I started waking up (I not only tried to hit people the first time, but had allot of involuntary muscle movement in the form of shaking my head violently.)

posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 05:42 AM
meanwhile, on a lighter note, I went in to have surgery on both my big toes which for some reason required me to be put under. After the third lot of knock-out juice they finally got me to "fall asleep"... I woke up to find both my feet entirely painted in iodine, and nice lil smilie faces drawn all over my belly.... one of the nurses must have got bored during the procedure

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