Waking up During Surgery? Do You Have a Legal Claim?

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A lot goes on in a person’s mind when undergoing major surgery. The biggest worry for most people is making it out alive. Waking up in the middle of the procedure is the least of worries for most people undergoing surgery. 

The chances of waking up mid-procedure are one or two in a thousand. While these figures may sound like not much, it is quite a significant number considering thousands of procedures are conducted daily in America. 

The Experience Varies

“The experience of waking up on a surgical bed can vary from person to person,” says attorney Dan Christensen of DC Law. Some regain full consciousness, while others are unaware of the operating team working on them.

In the group that gains full consciousness, some report feeling pressure on the affected part as the operating team works on them, but without pain. There is also another group that reports feeling excruciating pain. This group of people can have the effects of the pain go beyond the physical aspect to cause mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder that can significantly impact the quality of their life. 

When you are in an operating room, the medical practitioners working on your surgery owe you a duty of care. This duty of care includes ensuring you do not suffer pain during your operation. One way to ensure that a patient does not suffer pain during an operation is closely monitoring them for signs of regaining consciousness and administering more anesthesia.

Proving Medical Malpractice

When the medical team is distracted or negligent, you could awake mid-procedure to excruciating pain. In that case, you can sue the medical team or the hospital for damages suffered by filing a medical malpractice case. 

Proving that a medical team was negligent in administering anesthesia may be difficult, considering you may not have documentation to prove your case. You may want to seek the help of a lawyer that has worked on similar cases before. Even then, the lawyer will need to work with expert witnesses. 

What to Do

You can do a few things to improve your chances of recovering fair compensation for damages. Getting professional help for mental trauma is the most critical step before all else. Records obtained in the therapy sessions can be critical evidence in proving your case. 

Another thing you can do is document your experience as soon as possible to ensure that your recollection of events doesn’t get lost with time. There are situations where the trauma can affect your life by causing relationship problems and difficulties keeping a job. In that case, you could ask family members and former and current workmates to witness how your experience has changed your life. 

Recoverable Damages

If your claim succeeds, recoverable damages include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages include all expenses resulting from the pain suffered due to the medical error.

 Expenses can include the cost of therapy, prescription medication, and lost wages. Non-economic damages are effects of medical error that cannot have a definite monetary figure attached to them, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, physical pain, stress, and anxiety. 

In cases where gross negligence is evident, your lawyer can help you look into the possibility of recovering punitive damages. Punitive damages are extra damages awarded by the court to punish defendants for gross negligence or intentional tort. 


Hemant Kumar

Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.

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