Mum's horror at waking up during stomach surgery

A mother has revealed for the first time the pain she suffered when she woke up during an operation – only to feel a surgeon cutting into her stomach.

Sarah Newton, 32, of Hinckley in the UK, awoke during an operation on her stomach because of a misjudged anaesthetic, reports the Daily Mail.

However, because she was paralysed by muscle relaxants, she spent 40 minutes trapped within her body, unable to move or scream as she lay on the operating table.

The operation took place in 2011, but Miss Newton has only been able to speak out now because of the trauma she has suffered.

The mother-of-two was diagnosed with inter-cranial hypertension – a brain condition which can lead to blindness - over eight years ago.

She had one operation to drain fluid from her brain to her stomach, and then a second procedure to relieve further pressure, when she suffered her horror incident.

“There are no words to describe what it felt like,” she said.

“I could feel them cutting across. It was them cutting my stomach open. I was unsure whether I was dreaming.

“I could hear them talking but I couldn’t move at all. I was trying to scream.

“I tried to wiggle my toes desperately hard but I couldn’t move anything. I tried to raise my heartbeat to make them notice but they couldn’t notice. I couldn’t blink or anything.

“The feeling of being trapped was worse than the pain. I have never experienced pure panic like it ever before. I really believed I was going to die. It felt as if I was being tortured but was powerless to stop it.

“The only thing I could do was concentrate on what they were physically doing. I just had to get to the end of it. I could feel every stitch going in. I counted all the stitches. It’s infinite counting now in my nightmares.

“And then the staples afterwards. I was able to tell them afterwards exactly how many they had done.”

Afterwards, in recovery, she started screaming and the anaesthetist was called.

“The first thing I said was: ‘I was awake.’ He was mortified. Straight away he knew. He kept saying: “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done it.”

It later emerged that Miss Newton’s anaesthetist had decided to switch off the anaesthetic before surgery was finished so she might become alert, quicker, following the procedure.

Meghana Pandit, of University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “On behalf of the Trust I apologise profusely to Miss Newton for her pain and distress.”

Miss Newton has since been paid around $50,000 in compensation but must take morphine every day and has had to have four further operations.

“I’m still angry - with the hospital, with the anaesthetist. I want them to face what happened,” said Miss Newton, who is now deemed not emotionally strong enough to undergo further surgery.