Although it is relatively a very rare incident, but those it happened to bear the psychological marks for as long as they live. Waking up during medical surgeries is one of the most fearful things any patient would not want to experience, but it does happen even though the incidence rate is quite low. Many patients who experienced waking up during surgeries describe their experiences and the accompanying psychological traumas they are subjected to anytime they recall what happened to them, or any time a trigger alerts their mind to what they went through in the theatre.
“I was awake but paralyzed. I could hear the surgeon telling his trainee to ‘cut deeper into the eye,’” says Carol Weihrer who woke up while undergoing eye surgery in 1998. “I was screaming, but no one could hear me. I felt no pain, just a tugging sensation. I tried to move my toes or even push myself off the operating table, but I couldn’t move. I thought I was dying.” She’s been reminded of that experiences anytime something triggers the thought. “I’ve had to sleep in a recliner for the last 16 years. If I lie flat, I get flashbacks of the operating table and I start violently thrashing.”
According to a research published in the journal Anesthesia, only 19,600 patients accidently came to while undergoing surgery out of a total 3 million patients surveyed for general anesthesia in the UK and Ireland. And in the US, a rate of 1person to 670 woke up during general anesthesia, which means the incident is a little higher here.
Most patients relate that they experienced fear, choking, pain, paralysis, hallucinations, and near-death experiences when they wake up during surgeries, and medical experts believe that the consciousness regained during surgeries lasted less than 5 minutes in 75% of all cases. But the problem is that most of these persons experience long-term psychological pains like depression and PSTD, among others.
For general anesthesia, a drug mixture which induces unconsciousness and causes amnesia is given to the patient prior to the surgery, but a paralytic may be added to enable surgeons operate in inaccessible areas when muscles are tense, and to prevent patient from moving, and to allow doctors insert breathing tubes among others. However, patients tend to wake when the anesthesia is insufficient to suppress consciousness or when the effects run out before the doctors are through with their operations.