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Anaesthetic Awareness Claims

Medical Negligence
During surgery an anaesthetic can be administered generally in order to make the patient unconscious for the duration of the procedure or locally to numb the specific area. This is done in order to prevent the patient from feeling pain and often includes the administration of a muscle relaxant which helps to relax the body and depending on the specific type of muscle relaxant may leave you unable to move or make any signal whatsoever.

The level of anaesthetic that is given to a patient is calculated using a range of factors, including the patients’ weight, age and any relevant medical history and as medical techniques have progressed over the years anaesthetists try to give patients the minimum amount of anaesthetic required to reduce the risk of complications that can occur when under a deeper level of unconsciousness. Anaesthetists are extremely careful to administer the correct dosage, however, due to a number of factors such as faulty machinery, a lack of medical training or personal circumstances such as drug tolerance levels, the actual anaesthetic may not be as effective as is required and may cause “anaesthetic awareness”.

Anaesthetic awareness is a condition where the patient undergoing the medical procedure is aware of their surroundings and what is happening to them, and can feel pain, but they are unable to communicate the situation to the medical staff due to the muscle relaxant rendering the patient incapable of any form of signalling or speech.

Patients that have suffered from anaesthetic awareness in the past often suffer from a range of serious psychological conditions which can include serious phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, insomnia and in very extreme cases attempted suicides.

If you are considering making a medical negligence claim after having experienced a period of awareness under anaesthetic during a medical procedure you may wish to view the following sections.

Who can make a claim for medical negligence?

Are there time limits for making a medical negligence claim?

How much would my medical negligence claim be worth?

How do I make a claim for medical negligence?