“It was terrible, my worst nightmare,” the patient, from Växjö in southern Sweden, told The Local.
The man went under the knife in late March, suffering from a collapsed lung. He was fully sedated, but fifteen minutes into the surgery increased energy in his brain was registered and he had a coughing reflex. Soon after that he became aware of his surroundings and of the pain of the procedure.
The man wrote in his report to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) that he could hear the doctors and nurses speaking and that the pain became more and more intense.
“My brain kept telling me over and over ‘say your name, say something, do something, wiggle your toes’ but I was completely incapable of saying something or moving my body at all,” the patient wrote.
He was awake for some 30-35 minutes of the 50 minute procedure. When he woke again, he was in serious pain and very angry. Despite having been promised a spinal anaesthetic to relieve some of the pain, this had not been administered.
“My first words when I woke up were ‘What the hell have you done? Hell, my back hurts, where’s the anaesthesia?’,” he wrote in his report.
After the patient had explained to the doctors what he had been through, they expressed shock at the incident. He was able to retell much of what had happened during the procedure, who had said what, and what people present looked like.
Later, the anaesthetists came in to see him and he retold his experiences. After a meeting with a specialist doctor he was told that there had been some indications during the procedure that all was not quite right.
“But I never really got any explanation as to why this had happened,” the man wrote in the report.
The doctor did confirm that the man had been forced to endure considerably more pain than if he had remained sedated.
A few weeks later, the man is recovering but not free of what happened to him.
“It is still difficult on and off. It was the worst thing I could imagine. I still find it hard to sleep sometimes,” he told The Local.