Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Oh my gawd: awake during surgery, but paralyzed

Can you imagine?
The American Society of Anesthesiologists, meeting in Atlanta, approved the group's first-ever standards on preventing a rare but terrifying situation in which patients wake up during surgery and sometimes feel excruciating pain without being able to cry out. Such awakenings occur in one or two cases out of every 1,000, the group said. But the phenomenon received press coverage following some lawsuits by patients, and after the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations last year urged hospitals to better monitor patients for the problem and ask them about it after surgery.

Carol Weihrer, who won an out-of-court settlement after her anesthesia failed during a five-hour eye surgery in 1998, was disappointed. Now a patient advocate, she said that technology that might prevent a patient's suffering should be used and also called for the society to help establish a registry for case reports of surgical awareness. "It's nothing," Weihrer said of the society's action. The 54-year-old Virginia woman was awake but paralyzed while doctors cut and gouged to remove her right eye seven years ago.

Link to article in Seattle Post Intelligencer.

1 comment:

mdmhvonpa said...

I've heard of this before ... multiple times. It horrifies me. I've had multiple surgeries and only once have been under general. The other cases, I was wide awake and able to make comments on what I percieved. To have felt the pain (there was a lot of ripping, tearing and gouging) would have been a certain show-stopper!