Anaesthetic Failed Leaving Disabled Man Awake for Surgery

SURGERY went ahead after the anaesthetic failed, leaving a disabled man awake for the entire surgery, as he could not communicate with his surgeons.

Corey Burke, aged 25 from Queensland Australia, was awake for his entire surgery and due to his disability he was unable to let his surgeons know he could feel everything. Normally Corey would have his mentor present when undergoing anaesthetic in pre-op, but this time his mentor was asked to leave.

The 10th disability royal commission hearing was held in public, and Corey told them about his surgery. The focus of the commission is to enhance care for patients with a cognitive disability.

Corey spoke about his surgery and said, “They gave me the anaesthetic, but I didn’t go under.

“I think this wouldn’t have happened if my mentor was in the room with me.

“My mentor would have helped me to keep me calm and stopped my adrenaline going up.”

Corey, who has an invisible disability, has an idea for a colour code system, that would enable medics to recognise a patient’s disability without needing to read the patient record and improve care.

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Written by

Alex Glenn

Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at