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Anesthesiology/Failed Spinal Anesthesia


I had a c-section (non-emergent).  After the spinal was administered my skin was pinched and cold was applied and I was asked if I could feel this.  I said, YES.  I screamed bloody nurder during the entire surgery from the initial cut til both babies (twins) were delivered.  I want to know what is the proper procedure when a patient states they can feel and has sensation at the surgical site?  I am currently in nursing school and have learned that someone in that surgical room should of said, STOP she can feel that.  The surgery continued despite me feeling almost all of the actions.  During the initial prep on my back for the spinal, the MD asked me, what is this scar you have here on your back?  I told him I had spial fusion surgery at level L4/L5 and L5/S1.  He did say he would have to give the spinal a little further up the spine because of that.  I was not told it might not work.  I have since asked my OB doctor for my medical records to see what transpired in that OR room, but only the times of the surgery were noted and the doctor documented that "patient tolerated the surgery well".  How do I go about finding out the medicines they gave me while in the OR to see if they did try to do things to help relieve the pain I was feeling?  I just want answers to why this was allowed to happen and if this was unethical.  Thank you for your time.

There are 2 options at that point. If it was true pain (and not just pressure or pulling), they should have given you a general anesthetic. If it was just a few "hot spots", they could have tried to give you some pain medications (or heavy sedation) to get you through the rough parts, but they definitely shouldn't have proceeded with you screaming in pain. As for seeing your records, you need to see the Anesthetic record (and possibly the nurses OR notes. Both of those should give you more information.

Sorry for the distress you underwent. That is certainly not what we anesthesiologists pride ourselves on.

Ronald Levy, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology


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Ronald Levy, M.D.


Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. I am a board certified anesthesiologist who can answer all questions related to any type of Anesthesia with the exception of Pain Management.

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