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March 22, 1976

On Awakening Paralyzed During Surgery

Author Affiliations

University of North Dakota Fargo

JAMA. 1976;235(12):1209-1210. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260380013004

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To the Editor.—  By reading R. S. Blacher's article, I was prompted to write about a case I had witnessed.A 39-year-old woman had surgery for acute appendicitis. I had observed her for several years for mild hypertension, and she had a history of depression, but at the time of her recent illness she appeared very stable and healthy.I was not in attendance from the time of the surgical consultation until the fifth postoperative day. When I then asked how she was recovering and if she had had much pain after surgery she said, "After, no; that is nothing. It hurts and they give me a shot, and it takes the pain away. But the operation was terrible! So painful, like a nightmare."It turned out that she had definite recall of painful stimuli during surgery. She also recalled people and conversations from the operating room, although this was