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Woman awakes during hysterectomy op

Published: 21 Oct 2012 11:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Oct 2012 11:48 GMT+02:00

A 53-year-old Swedish woman has reported that she awoke twice during the course of an operation to remove her uterus, according to a report in the local Smålandsposten daily.

"It was a horrible experience, I heard what they said and felt them working away down there without being able to do anything," the woman told the newspaper.

The operation occurred at the end of 2011 and the woman was this week awarded 8,000 kronor ($1,216) in an insurance pay out and given a formal apology from the surgeons involved.

The woman described the pain as she awoke from the anaesthetic and how she tried to signal to the medical staff that she could feel pain.

"I struggled because it was so terribly painful, but without making any contact."

Both instances when the woman appeared to awake were noted in the medical journal and her dosage was increased to ensure that she went back to sleep.

The woman is reported to be dissatisfied with the pay out from her medical insurance and is considering an appeal of the decision.

While extremely unusual, so-called wakefulness is known to occur in patients under anaesthetic.

Rolf Sundin, an expert in anesthesiology at Kalmar Hospital, told the newspaper that global studies indicate that 1-2/1,000 patients experience the phenomenon.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:20 October 21, 2012 by eltechno
I don't want to tell you how to run you site, but this story borders on embarrassingly stupid. ANY good anesthetist only puts someone to sleep just enough to keep them under during surgery. This is good practice because it is dangerous to give someone too much anesthesia. Once in a while they guess a little wrong and folks wake up during surgery. This happens all over the world. It happened once to me.

The difference is that no one thought it was interesting enough to write it up as a news story. That's because it isn't a news story.
17:01 October 21, 2012 by Frobobbles
It must have been hysterical.
20:54 October 21, 2012 by MWolf
Eltechno:

No one asked you how to run this site because you are not a journalist.

And no one asked your opinion about anesthesia because you are not a professional or expert in anesthesia nor are you an anesthesiologist.

I have performed anesthesia when I was training to be a veterinarian. Yes, anesthesia is used as minimally as possible to prevent things like death and coma, but too little anesthesia is far worse than too little in a surgery like this one. In abdomninal surgery, shock is a risk. A patient who wakes up may go into shock, which may cause coma or cardiac arrest. But most of all, under general anesthesia, a waking patient is a sign that muscles are no longer anesthetised and could move, causing grave and even fatal injury.

No, its not just a matter of patient comfort. If that were the case, they wouldn't use anything so intense as Propofil and other deep anesthetics.

The fact is, the anesthesiologist was not paying sufficient attention. An anesthesiologist must monitor patient vital signs in order to constantly maintain a sufficient state of anesthetization. If the patient woke up, it is because the anesthesiologist wasn't paying attention. And for it to have happened twice is indeed a bad thing.

If you want to criticize the site, criticize it for poor editing and use of poor journalism. The problem with the story is that it didn't sufficiently report WHY it was a bad thing for this woman to wake up during surgery. Had the journalist answered that question, we wouldn't have had to witness our display of ignorance.
07:37 October 22, 2012 by eppie
@mwolf

As a non expert; the last line says this happens 1 or twice every thousand operations. So I could agree with eltechno when he says 'why write this in the paper?'
10:34 October 22, 2012 by RobinHood
Eppie has a point.

I have no idea how many surgeries Sweden gets through in a day, but at the rate of one or two events per 1000 surgeries, a patient waking up during surgery must be somewhere close to an everyday event in Sweden.

Eltechno is right, everyday events are not news, and a good journalist has to differentiate between what is, and what is not news.
12:30 October 22, 2012 by Luska
As I recently moved to Sweden and don't speak Swedish yet i was very happy to discover The Local. However, the more i read the more i get disappointed since it doesn't go beyond tabloid quality. Chiwawa dies in a car accident, woman wakes up during operation etc. etc. I generally agree with eltecho that The Local needs to review their criteria of news selection or at least make sure what kind of audience they are aiming at.
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