A new report in England states that thousands of patients a year wake up during an operation. The report is from two leading organisations for anaesthetists – people who put us to sleep before surgery. It said: "At least 150, and possibly several thousand, patients a year are conscious while they are undergoing operations." Doctors say it is very rare for someone to wake up during major surgery. One doctor says it happens in one in every 19,000 operations. Patients who do wake up on the operating table reported having feelings of fear and panic. A patient cannot alert the doctors if he/she wakes up because the drugs relax their muscles so they cannot move or communicate.
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Researchers looked at details from around three million operations in public hospitals in the U.K. and Ireland. They used the data to find areas that could be improved during an operation. They made a list of 64 recommendations to try and reduce accidents happening in operating theatres. The most basic recommendation was for doctors to use an anaesthesia checklist before each operation. This could reduce mistakes made by doctors and make sure the patient has the correct levels of the correct drugs. They also recommend using a monitor so doctors know if the patient wakes up and cannot move. A professor said: "I hope this report will ensure anaesthetists pay even greater attention to preventing episodes of awareness."