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Stopped breathing, woke up during surgery


In 2006, I was having a Medtronic morphine pump put into my body and the catheter placed into my spinal column. The surgery proceeded well until the surgeon asked the anesthesiologist to give me a shot of antibiotic. The anesthesiologist gave me another dose of the paralytic agent instead of the antibiotic. This caused me to stop breathing and to wake up during the surgery.

When I woke up I was in excruciating pain, I could not see, could not move but I could hear. I could hear the doctors calmly figuring out what had happened. I had a nurse, who I call my “Angel Nurse” talking in my ear and telling me that they knew I was awake and they were taking care of the problem. They got me put back under but I woke up again. I remember little else about that day except for pain, lots and lots of pain.

The procedure, although moments away from being done, was abandoned and I had to go back to get it redone. All of the different procedures being done/redone caused a CSF leak in my spinal cord and I had an excruciating headache that lasted for months. The one thing the doctor did right was the quick and thorough notification to my wife.