We haven’t done a poll or anything, but we’re pretty sure that one of the biggest shared fears in the world is the possibility of waking up during surgery. The technical term for this is anesthesia awareness or intraoperative recall, and it happens to at least 1,000 patients a year in the U.S. alone. While many of the cases are benign, consisting of hazy flashbacks, up to 70 percent of patients who experience anesthesia awareness suffer from long-term psychological distress and those are the anesthesia awareness horror stories that we’ve listed here for you today.
It would be a delight if we could go through life never having to hear surgery horror stories - it's one of those experiences that really gives us the heebie jeebies. After researching intraoperative recall, we’ve come to the realization that anesthesia doesn’t always work and that we would rather never step foot in a hospital again if the possibility of waking up on an operating room table is anywhere near our cards.Even after reading the stories of the men and women on this list, we can’t imagine what it must be like to be awake inside your own body, screaming without a voice. It’s a little too Harlan Ellison. If this list doesn’t freak you out and make you think twice about receiving a general anesthetic the next time you go under the knife, then you’re definitely way braver than us.
"How’s It Going?"
A Very Unsettling Experience
David Biber realized that anesthesia had little effect on him in 1972, when he required a dozen surgeries after a near-fatal car accident. During one operation, he recalls hearing the muffled sounds of a conversation. He also says he’s been aware during a colonoscopy and cataract surgery when he was supposed to be fully sedated.Most recently, David woke during a knee surgery to see what appeared to be a pair of forceps protruding from his leg. He told Reader's Digest, "it was very unsettling."