Mitz Joseph

FUTURE ANESTHESIOLOGISTS? From Jan. 29 Medical Academy field trip to Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Imagine yourself about to go through a major procedure. You’re lying there, listening to the doctor and nurses speak, as they’re preparing you for the surgery. They apply the anesthesia and you feel yourself drift away. Moments later, you are awake…during surgery.

As shocking as this sounds, it is entirely true. This event is called anesthetic awareness. Anesthetic awareness is when a patient can recall all of the events that took place during their surgery. Basically, while they are operating on you, you are fully aware of everything that is going on.

The problem with this is that you are paralyzed, unable to alert the doctor or the nurses that you can feel everything that’s happening.

How does someone go through anesthetic awareness?

Well, the patient experiences this when the doctor does not apply enough anesthesia prior to the operation. Every patient fears waking up during an operation, but it is not very often that this occurs.

According to Britain’s top anesthesiologists, one to two people out of a thousand experience this during an operation. Patients shouldn’t be frightened or anxious, because there is advanced technology to prevent it.

Brain measuring devices can be used to measure depth of consciousness, allowing doctors to see whether the anesthesia had the correct effect.

The fictional entertainment movie Awake exploits anesthetic awareness, but should not be taken seriously because cases like that are extremely uncommon.

Doctors have a very important job and that is to take care of their patient, which is very common to see. When you are undergoing surgery, just know that you are in good hands. The possibility of something going wrong is very low, so worrying is unnecessary. The percentage of people who experience anesthetic awareness is less than 1 percent, so keep that in mind. You’re in good hands.