O’FALLON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – It was supposed to be a routine operation, but it’s an operation that a man from St. Louis says he will remember for the rest of his life.
Imagine going under the knife and actually feeling the pain. Matt Caswell says it happened to him and that he has now taken legal action against the University of Washington, the anesthesiologist and the certified nurse anesthetist.
“It was like torture,” Caswell recalls.
Caswell’s mother filmed a video of him after the procedure at a St. Charles County hospital in July 2020. Caswell can be seen saying, “I want to get out of here,” repeatedly after surgery. hernia. Caswell told News 4 he expected to sink into an unconscious state under general anesthesia, but said that had not happened.
“I just remember the mask put on my face… I knew I was having problems when I felt the cold iodine hit my stomach,” he said.
Sitting in his attorney’s office, Caswell added: “At any point I was waiting to go out. Suddenly I was stabbed in the stomach … it was like rusty razor blades. C ‘was so bad. ”
Caswell says there was a towel over his face and he was unable to speak because he had already received an initial paralyzing agent before surgery.
“He was paralyzed, could not move,” added his lawyer Ken Vuylsteke. “He was supposed to get a mask on his face, which was done. This mask contains what we would call knockout gas, puts you under. This gas was not activated by the anesthesiologist. They forgot. “said Vuylsteke.
According to the lawsuit, Caswell could feel pain and hear everything discussed in the operating room for at least 13 minutes. Vuylsteke says the medical professional should have realized that Caswell was in pain due to his vital signs.
“His heart rate skyrocketed. His blood pressure went to what’s called hypertensive crisis three, which occurs just before a heart attack and continued for 13 minutes without noticing it,” Vuylsteke said.
Vuylsteke also provided medical notes written by the doctor after the surgery. In the notes it says: “A review of the anesthetic record demonstrates a delay in the initiation of inhalation anesthesia after induction of anesthesia.”
“Not only does his physical records prove the case, but they admit it,” Vuylsteke said.
The medical notes add: “The patient and his mother were immediately informed of the delay in initiating the inhaled anesthetic agent until the start of the surgical procedure.”
Dr Dan Forest was selected by Caswell’s lawyer as an expert witness in the case. Dr Forest says cases like Caswell’s are “not very common, but it does happen.” He says Caswell has experienced what is called intraoperative sensitization and that most cases are due to equipment failure, not the healthcare professional who forgets to turn on the equipment.
“I think what’s important is that patients talk to the anesthesiologist before surgery to better understand what to expect,” Dr. Forest said.
During some procedures, some patients may overhear a conversation or be aware of what is going on depending on the level of sedation. He added and said that under general anesthesia the goal is to keep the patient unconscious and unable to remember the procedure.
“It was so scary I thought I was having a heart attack,” Caswell recalls.
A lawyer representing the University of Washington, the doctor and the CRNA sent News 4 this statement regarding the lawsuit:
It is the policy of the University of Washington not to comment on pending litigation and is also barred from commenting due to the HIPAA protections granted to Mr. Caswell.
If you would like to read the lawsuit, click here to view the petition.
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