Young man suffered through surgery fully awake after anaesthetic didn’t work

A patient has relived his ordeal after he went under the knife fully conscious when the anaesthetic didn't work.

Corey Burke, 25, was said it was “very uncomfortable” when surgeons went ahead with an operation despite him being able to feel what they were doing.

Mr Burke, from Queensland, Australia, has an intellectual disability and would usually have had a mentor in with him.

But on this occasion doctors asked the mentor to leave the room – leaving the patient on his own.

Due to his disability, which Mr Burke said is invisible, he was unable to communicate with the doctors.

The 25-year-old told Australia's disability royal commission: “I was still conscious and tried to tell them, but they did the operation anyway.”

Mr Burke said his adrenaline would often rise prior to having surgery and his body would fight off the effects of anaesthetic.

He added that it "wasn't painful but it was very uncomfortable".

"People with special needs need a little extra care, especially if they get anxiety or nervous," Mr Burke said.

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"If a person is having a meltdown, it may not be part of their disability and it isn't because they're a bad person."

The patient said that doctors must have more training to deal with people who have a disability, reported.

He said: “People don’t know that I have a disability. My disability isn’t visible. Sometimes nurses don’t know I have a disability until they talk to me.”

He told the inquiry he used a "toolkit" which included a safety blanket and other sensory items that helped his anxiety.

Experts told the panel that there needs to be better training for doctors to understand people with a cognitive disability.

The 10th public hearing of the disability royal commission is examining how Australian medical professionals can better treat patients who have a cognitive disability.

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