In today's news BBC report, one in every 19,000 operations resulted in some form of awareness for the patient, resulting in their worst nightmare.
Sometimes this is expected, like with brain surgery where the patient must stay conscious. However, those undergoing a normal procedure say it feels like being trapped in a corpse. Lying paralyzed on the operating table, feeling every incision of the surgeon's knife but being unable to speak, move or scream. Some remember hearing their surgeons talk, and a few recall intense pain.
In the largest study of its kind, scientists found episodes were more likely when women were given general anesthesia for Caesarean sections or patients were given certain drugs.
Researchers from two UK Associations studied three million operations over a period of one year.
Patients described a variety of experiences—panic, pain, or chocking. The most alarming were being unable to communicate.
Each experience was analyzed to identify influential factors.
About 90% occurred when a possible inappropriate balance of medication muscle-relaxant drugs were combined with others to dampen consciousness.
Many reports about this horrifying situation have been released over the years.
In 2013: A study of UK operations done under general anesthetic revealed more than 150 people lived through this nightmare in just a year.
In 2008: NBC news reported 30,000 US people a year were awake during surgery.
I've had about twenty operations during my life. None of them have frightened me. After the last, I woke in intensive care and a nurse questioned me. I said no, I didn't remember anything. Later, I found out that my femur had shattered during a third hip replacement and I'd lost a lot of blood. The result has left me with a worsening limp as I age. But, I didn't wake during the procedure.
How about you? Do you have an experience to share?