Man Describes Waking Up During Operation But Couldn’t Speak


A man has spoken about waking up in the middle of an operation, able to feel everything but unable to tell doctors. Fenn Settle, 25, woke up and felt a sharp stabbing pain in his abdomen during the operation for a ruptured appendix.

He also said he felt like he was ‘choking to death on a bottle cap’ because of a tube inserted into his throat. He tried blinking, wiggling his fingers and toes and, in a last-ditch attempt to get the attention of medics, he made a ‘conscious decision’ to urinate on the operating table before he was then put back under. He said: ‘I went down for surgery and everything was fine, I was put under but came round and felt like I had a bottle cap in my throat.

‘I tried to spit it out but couldn’t and felt like I was choking to death. Everything goes through your mind like, are you going to see your family again? ‘I thought I was going to die and tried to hold my breath so I would pass out quicker. I then realised I could hear voices, the beep of the machines and a stabbing pressure on my abdomen.

‘I was able to figure out what was going on and that I was still in the operation. I couldn’t move, I was paralysed. I tried to open my eyes, scream, wiggle my fingers and toes. ‘I was willing any part of me to do something. I made the conscious decision to urinate, it was the only thing I could do. ‘It was that sort of feeling when you have three beers. I thought this will get their attention. I definitely could have held it in.

‘The next morning I was seen by a doctor who said, “I’m aware you had some awareness of the operation” but said whatever you do don’t google it because I would scare myself.’ Since his ordeal Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has apologised and received compensation in an out of court settlement.


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