Waking up during a surgical procedure or operation (known as ‘anaesthetic awareness’) is a traumatic event that can have long-lasting effects. This can be exacerbated by the fact that the surgery you needed was interrupted and you may have to undergo the procedure again, which can lead to further trauma or a delay of much-needed surgery.
If you have suffered from anaesthetic awareness, we can help you to investigate what went wrong and to support you in making a claim for compensation to help you put your life back on track.
We know that you are likely to have a lot of questions about what happened, as well as trying to deal with the trauma you have suffered and its impact on your life. Our specialist solicitors take the time to get to know you, understand what happened and how it has affected you so that they can provide you with the best advice for your individual circumstances.
We have expertise in many different types of claims where a person has been awake during a surgical procedure, including:
- Where a patient was not provided with enough anaesthetic, including where a patient’s weight has been misjudged or has not been recorded correctly in the medical notes
- Where medical professionals have failed to recognise that a patient’s vital signs show that they are conscious or in a waking state during an operation and have failed to act quickly to address this
- Where anaesthetists have failed to properly implement the technique of total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA)
- Where equipment has failed, meaning that the correct dose was not provided
How long do I have to make a claim?
If you are making a claim, usually you will need to issue your claim in court (if it cannot be settled) within three years of the date of the negligence. In cases of anaesthetic awareness, this is likely to be three years from the date of the surgical procedure.
If you are unsure if you are in time to make a claim, contact our team who would be happy to discuss it with you further.
How can I fund a claim for anaesthetic awareness?
There is a range of funding options open to you when pursuing compensation for anaesthetic awareness, however, the most common is a Conditional Fee Agreement; more commonly known as ‘no win no fee’ funding. With this type of funding it means that if your claim was not successful, then you would not have to pay our legal costs or your opponents costs.
What compensation might I receive if I bring a claim?
As with any compensation claim, how much you are likely to receive will depend on your particular circumstances. Compensation is calculated based on any financial losses you have suffered as well as the nature and extent of the pain and suffering inflicted as a result of the negligence.
In a claim for anaesthetic awareness, financial losses might include:
- Any time you had to take off work, or away from your business, to recover from the trauma of the failed surgical procedure, and any time you may have to take off in the future to have the surgical procedure again;
- The private healthcare costs of any surgical procedure that is required in future;
- Any therapy sessions or psychological treatments that you may have had, or may wish to have, to help you address the trauma you have suffered; and
- Compensation for any care and assistance your family members or friends gave you either immediately after the surgery or during your recovery.
Why choose Royds Withy King?
We understand how traumatic anaesthetic awareness can be and we appreciate the significant effect that it can have on your life afterwards. We are dedicated to working with you to get compensation that will help you get back on track.
Our client F went into hospital with acute appendicitis and was required to undergo an appendicectomy under general anaesthetic.
F was injected with the anaesthetic and lost consciousness. However, he later woke during the operation. F was unable to open his eyes but was aware of the voices and felt suffocated by the intubation tube that was in his throat. F felt the surgeons pulling at his stomach.
F tried to alert the staff by moving his fingers and toes but was unable to do so. F was able to alert them to the fact he was awake by urinating. F heard staff notice that he had urinated, he then felt a sensation in his arm before falling unconscious again.
F suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder with long-lasting effects including anxiety, weight gain and increased alcohol usage. F required anti-depressants and psychological therapy.
We were able to bring a claim for F and get an admission of liability by the Trust that the care they provided was not of a reasonable standard and that this had caused F’s post-traumatic stress disorder. F was able to receive financial compensation, including for the psychological therapies that he required to put him on the path to recovery. Fortunately, it was not necessary to issue proceedings and the Trust’s legal representatives agreed to settle at an early stage.
We were able to help our client, M, after she woke during surgery after going in for a procedure to remove her gallbladder.
M had been given an intravenous anaesthetic (injection into the arm) before the operation, and then woke up in the operating theatre.
M tried to move or speak but was paralysed. This caused M to feel extreme panic. M heard the doctors discussing how her heart rate was high and whether drugs should be given to her to reduce her heart rate. However, the doctors did not appreciate that her high heart rate was due to the anaesthetic not working and so they did not increase the drugs to put her back to sleep. Thankfully, the doctors did not proceed with the operation and M was returned to the recovery room.
M suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder which included night terrors and intrusive thoughts and flashbacks about her surgery. M also suffered from a specific phobia of hospitals which affected her and made her concerned for future operations or illnesses she may have to have.
We were able to bring a claim for M and, whilst the Trust initially denied negligence, we succeeded in proving M’s claim. The Trust admitted liability and apologised for the harm they had caused.
We were able to secure compensation of £28,000 for M which will help her to put her life back on track after such a traumatic experience, including money for psychiatric therapy and for the surgery to be performed on a private basis.