Skip to main content

Contact us to arrange your
FREE initial consultation

Call me back Email us

, updated on 13th August 2021

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyers obtained a compensation settlement for a young woman who was left aware but paralysed and unable to breathe or communicate during surgery.

Our client was due to have abdominal surgery under general anaesthetic. Successful general anaesthetic requires the anaesthetist to maintain the patient’s oxygenation whilst keeping them in a controlled state of unconsciousness whilst the surgeon operates on their body. To do this, they give the patient a combination of drugs. The anaesthetic drug blocks the nerve signals to the patient’s brain, so that they can’t feel pain. Meanwhile muscle relaxants prevent the patient from moving during surgery. The patient’s oxygenation is managed via a ventilator because once the muscle relaxants take hold, the patient can no longer breathe for themselves. 

In this case, the anaesthetist gave the drugs in the wrong order. The muscle relaxant was given before the anaesthetic agent, leaving our client aware but paralysed and unable to breathe.

As a result of this experience, our client developed severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with anxiety and obsessive behaviours. She also developed a panic disorder, with agoraphobia and depression. She required psychological therapy, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprogramming Therapy (EMDRT).

After our client approached us, we put her claim to the defendant hospital and within a short time we were able to negotiate a settlement.