Why Are Patients Gaining Consciousness During Surgery?

17th September 2014

The Royal College of Anaesthetists and Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland suggested that this happens during one in every 19,000 operations, after studying three million operations over a one year period.

Most cases have occurred as a result of patients being given particular drugs such as muscle-relaxant medication, administered along with drugs that reduce consciousness. In some cases, experts have suggested that patients may not have been given the appropriate balance of medication resulting in them being paralysed, but having some level of awareness.

It was reported that many cases were experienced by women undergoing Caesarean sections. One in 670 women could gain consciousness during this type of surgery under general anaesthetic. Experts have argued that this may be due to the balance of medication administered, as the mother needs to be unconscious whilst the baby is still kept awake.

Patients have described feeling awake, while also experiencing paralysis, meaning they were unable to alert staff. Although these cases are extremely rare, it is worrying that these situations have been experienced by some patients. Incidents like this can be extremely traumatic resulting in long-term psychological harm. Anaesthetists must pay greater attention to ensure that these cases do not happen, however small the number of occurred episodes is.

At Fletchers we are experts in dealing with claims of medical negligence and understand how distressing it can be to experience mistakes whilst you’re in the care of a professional. For many patients who undergo surgery, the procedure is carried out to the highest standards but for some people this is not the case and they may be able to make a claim for negligence. If you or a family member has been through a traumatic operation that has resulted in further harm, then we may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.



Further Reading…

Breast screen error could have been found earlier

25th May 2018

Professor Peter Sasieni is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary University of London has written an open letter to the Lancet expressing concerns that the error with regards to breast cancer screening patients age 60-70 may have extended as far back as 2004/5 rather than just 2009.

Take the first step now, you have nothing to lose

  • Top Ranked Leading Individual - Chambers UK 2016
  • The Sunday Times Top 100 - Best Companies To Work For 2016
  • The Lawyer UK200 - Listed Firm 2015
  • The Law Society - Clinical Negligence
  • The Legal 500 - Leading Firm 2015
  • The Investors In People Awards 2016 - Winner
  • Lexcel - Excellence in Legal Practice Management and Client Care
  • IIP - Investors in People
  • sia - Spinal Injuries Association
  • MASS - Motor Accident Solicitors Society
  • Apil - Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Headway - The Brain Injury Association
  • avma - Action Against Medical Accidents
  • Backup Trust - Transforming Lives After Spinal Cord Injury
  • Child Brain Injury Trust
  • Cyber Essentials
Any Questions?

We know that making a claim can raise a few questions, here are some of the ones we get asked most often.

Read our FAQs

Contact Details
03300 080 321
Dukes House, 34 Hoghton Street, Southport, PR9 0PU
St James's Tower, 7 Charlotte Street, Manchester, M1 4DZ
Map of the UK