Waking up during a surgery would clearly be frightening for any Philadelphia resident. There would be the sounds, the realization of what is going on, and in some cases, even the physical pain. However, in the off chance that a patient does wake up, how doctors and medical staff handle this situation could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit being filed by the patient.
Take for example a recent lawsuit that was filed against a medical center and its doctors. In this lawsuit, the patient claims he woke up during cataract surgery, only to be “tortured” by the medical staff.
According to the lawsuit, the man woke up during the surgery and could see the doctor operating on his eye. The patient asked the doctor to stop the surgery, but the doctor did not listen. Instead, medical personnel allegedly placed a piece of tape over his mouth to stop him from talking and the surgery could continue on.
During this time, the staff also physically held the patient down, and at one point, he reportedly swallowed his own tooth. To make matters worse, the cataract surgery was not successful and the man ended up losing vision in one eye.
Now he is suing for a number of reasons, including physical pain and suffering, destruction of earning capacity and mental anguish.
In looking at this case in terms of the waking up during surgery, a 2008 study found that 1 or 2 out of every 1,000 patients ends up waking up during surgery. In some cases, patients report being in severe pain, while others have fading memories of what was going on in the room when they awoke.
Either way, even in the off chance that a patient wakes up during surgery, all patients need to always be treated with dignity and respect. In cases where an error is made, not only does this mistake end up negatively affecting a patient, but it can also be rather costly. This is why patients are encouraged to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as they realize an error was made.
Source: Opposing Views, “Man Sues Over Loss of Vision And Alleged Torture After Waking Up During Cataract Surgery,” Sarah Rae Fruchtnicht, Feb. 26, 2013