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Do people really wake up during surgery?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Many people are worried about going in for surgery if they’re going to need general anesthesia. They are concerned that they could wake up during the procedure. The anesthesia is designed to eliminate the pain and trauma of that procedure, but it could be severely traumatic to wake up in the middle. Does this actually happen?

The truth is that it does happen in some cases. The medical team is supposed to monitor the patient’s condition so that they can see any signs of this occurring in advance, and they are supposed to use the proper levels of medication so that the person has no risk of waking up. This does not always happen. In some cases, the medical team is negligent and fails in their duties to protect the patient from harm.

How often does it happen?

Doctors do say that regaining awareness is rare, but they also point out that it can happen in as many as one out of every 1,000 procedures. This doesn’t sound like that many, and it feels like your odds of staying under are very good if that’s what happens in 999 cases out of 1,000.

But the thing to keep in mind is that there are roughly 60,000 surgical procedures carried out every single day. So this may be rare, but it could still happen 60 times every single day. When you factor that out over the course of an entire year, you’re looking at thousands of cases of people waking up when they’re supposed to be under general anesthesia.

If something like this has happened to you and you’ve suffered serious harm as a result, it’s very important that you understand all of the legal options at your disposal.