Having to undergo surgery under anesthesia is a scary business and waking up in the middle of a surgery is high on many people’s list of terrors. Anesthesia temporarily paralyzes you so that doctors can perform the surgery without you thrashing about. It also lowers your level of cognition so that you will be unaware of what is being done during the operation. In addition, it causes amnesia so that you don’t remember what happened during surgery. But what happens when the anesthesiologist makes a mistake and you end up waking up during surgery, unable to tell the doctors due to anesthesia-induced paralysis?
Prevalence of patients waking up during surgery
A study showed that 1-2 in 1000 patients regained consciousness during surgery and it is estimated to happen to roughly 3000 American patients per year. Waking up during an operation can occur if the patient is unresponsive to the anesthetic or if too little anesthetic is provided. There are strict protocols that doctors have to follow and if these protocols are breached and cause harm to the patient, the doctor is liable for medical malpractice.
Negative effects of malpractice by anesthesiologists
Patients that regain consciousness during surgery may not remember their experience, due to the amnesia caused by the anesthetics. However, those that do remember may suffer long-term psychological effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder, sleeping disorders, and, panic and anxiety disorders. If the mistake that the anesthesiologist made results in long-term harm to the patient, the patient has every right to file a legal complaint which should be done as soon as possible.
Cognizance during anesthesia is controversial and it is important to understand your rights as a patient. If you think that you may be a victim of a medical malpractice by an anesthesiologist, contact the New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Linden Law at (212) 804-8440 for a no- obligation free consultation.