Versed for couple's counselling


I've been away because I had to have my gall bladder removed, thanks to a gallstone the size of a small moon. Unfortunately they had to do it "old school" rather than laproscopically, which means the recovery is so much more fun.

The immersion into the hospitalization system (first time in the US) will generate some blog posts, but today let me add thoughts on one element that surprised me. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote speculating on the use of Versed for torture. I still wonder about that, and now I have a direct experience. Though I was not told about it, the anesthesiologist included one of the amnesia-inducing drugs into the pre-op "calm you down" sedation coctail. I remember him doing that injection, and getting a bit flushed from that, but it's blank after that. No memory of any discussion after, of being wheeled to the operating room and receiving the actual injection to make me unconscious for the procedure. Those events never laid down.

(When I asked the surgeon about not being told I would receive this drug, she at least had a sense of humour and said, "How do you know you weren't told?" Indeed, I don't know that. And to pile on the irony, I brought the movie "Momento" to the hospital, and watched it during my recovery.)

It is disturbing to have a memory deliberately erased. We've all lost memories, found periods in which we can't recollect anything about particular event or stretch, but this is different.

Still, it got me wondering about bizarre uses to which this might be put. I already speculated on torture and sinister uses. And we know about the use for date-rape which is highly disturbing. I wondered about its application to deep dark secrets.

The scenario is this. You have a couple. One or both of them volunteer for an amnesia inducing drug. Then, you pour out your heart, with all the deep dark secrets you've been hiding, kinky fantasies you've been begging for, and wait for the reaction. If your own memory is not going to store, you make notes on the reactions. When you're done, you know what secrets you can tell, and which would be relationship-destroying or particularly hurtful. Of course, the tested party needs to cooperate, and not say, "Oh, I had better pretend to not be bothered by that so that this horrible thing does not become lost to me" and and better not be a good actor. Or couples who are in the "both want to break up but are not admitting it for the sake of the other one" state could discover it and talk it out -- though one could also make a computer program to solve that problem.

To be tricky, my companion in the pre-op room could have decided to tell me things there without my being aware I had received the drug -- it is quite common now in sedation coctails -- in which case I would not have thought to fake my reactions. Technically, though I trust her, I can not be sure via my own memory that she did not.

These drugs are currently Schedule IV, so they don't see such non-medical use, but one can imagine other bizarre uses. For example, confidential job interviews. Consider applying for a job to work on a confidential project at a company. They might give you an NDA, or they might give you Versed and tell you the whole deal, knowing you won't be talking about it. Or truly "embargoed" releases to the media, or trials of secret products before a focus group. And these aren't as scary as the suggestions of use in torture or policework I already made. Certainly when it comes to any official use, we need a law requiring that any administration of such drugs be paired with complete videotaping of the entire episode and secure storage and authentication of the videotape -- if we allow such use at all. (Unfortunately we are probably going to see use whether we permit it or not.)

There could be medical uses. For example, say you have the cliche'd incurable, non-communicable fatal disease and some number of months to live. You could be told, and given the choice about when you should be told in a way you'll remember it. It's like creating test versions of yourself to try new and dangerous ideas and report back if the real you should absorb them.

Now I should note that there are barriers to the ideas I worry about above. The drugs are not 100%. You can't be sure they will block the long term storage of memory. And they also sedate you, put you in a calmer, non-natural mental state so they might not really be too useful in job interviews and other circumstances. (Even for torture, they might make you more able to tolerate the non-damaging torture they would want to do to you, just as they help you tolerate surgical squicks.)

But the drugs are going to get better, if they haven't already in secret labs. There are documents of experimentation with amnesiac drugs in intelligence contexts back to Viet Nam. Who knows what the black labs have discovered? We are going to have to get used to a world where memory is more fungible, and we call can be temporarily the character from Momento.


I recently had a surgery on my arm. I told the doctor that I DID NOT WANT a general anesthesia because, silly me, I LIKE TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME. They gave me VERSED unknown to me and did not include a description of the amnesia. I consider this an ASSAULT on my person. Unfortunately for them and me, the drug merely turned me into a ZOMBIE! I was aware of what was happening to me but completely unable to defend myself against any of their procedures including giving me that general I told them not to. I remember every snide remark they made AND I did everything they asked me to do without hesitation, and against my will! They are surprized that I remember it ALL, but are unapologetic. I want to sue the drug company and the hospital for giving me a psycotropic drug without my knowledge or consent! Any ideas?

Promptly find yourself a good medical malpractice attorney. You may very well have a claim. Even cases where people have consented to medial procedures, without being provided a full disclosure of the side effects and risks, have resulted in significant damage awards. Of course the hospital may have defenses, such as proving that your suggested method was more unsafe than the medication selection that the hospital chose.

Thanks John! After months of trying, I finally got the Hospital Board in my state to do an investigation into my mistreatment. As I believed, these people did administer this drug and others without that pesky "informed consent." I have an attorney now that is looking into it further. The anesthesia nurse says I "did not object" to the anesthesia AFTER he had already injected me with Versed. Maybe he won't be doing this to others who would prefer not to have their memory tampered with. One can only hope!

I have been doing some research becasue a few years ago I was scheduled to have an elective, but highly drastic surgery and the day of surgery, I was at the hospital with my husband, mom and sister, and I was fast realizing I still had some unanswered questions, and that the decision to have this surgery was one I had made because I felt pressure by the waiting list, but I mentioned I didn't want to go through with it after they had started my IV. I was anxious and with my family all supporting me in whatever I decided, I told my mother to give me my clothes, I wanted to go home and I didn't want to have this surgery, and I was quite certian I was leaving. I asked the nurse to remove my IV and told her I didn't want to have the surgery. I was obviously embarrassed by doing this at the last minute, but the nurse told me I needed to speak to the surgeon before I went. He came in a few minutes later and in his best bedside manner, held my hand, reassured me I didn't have the typical problems that cause others to have complicaitons, and didn't have any reason to be overly anxious. He told me that they had given me an antacid to prevent aspiration in surgery and in some people it causes a strong reaction of extreme anxiety, and he intimated that I should let him give me something to counter that and calm me down, and he would return in 10 minutes and then looked me right in the eye, said, and if you still don't want to have the surgery, we're not going to make you do anything you don't want to do, okay. I said okay, but if I still don't, you're not going to be mad at me? He said no we're not going to be mad at you. I was thinking in my head, well I have inconvenienced everyone and I feel like I can't refuse to let him do this so I will just give him the 10 minutes so I can prove it isn't some reaction, which I knew it wasn't. So he left, and my memory starts to get a little foggy there but my last one was watching the nurse inject into my IV, and asking if I was being given a Valium. I was thinking that since I have never taken drugs for anxiety, I knew that I didn't want whatever he was giving me to counter the anxiety reaction he claimed, to knock me out and my family to have to wait on me to come around to go home. That was my last memory. My next memory is a feeling of tugging, which I now know was my being sutchered, and then I heard a nurse trying to wake me and I was in recovery. I immediately said, "they did it without my permission" and I kept repeating it, but I thought I was saying it only in my head. I was trying to focus on a clock I could make out on a wall to see how much time had passed, and my next memory was my husband telling me, after I told him they did it without my permission and I was so upset, and he told me that I did give my permission and was fine with it. Because my husband wouldn't ever decieve me, I just figured I must not be remembering because I also can't remember the surgery, so I was thinking the anestesia must be affecting my memory before the surgery too. Years went by and I have had the same conversation so many times with my husband trying to retrieve a memory of how I could get from where I was in my head at my last memory, which was, "ten more minutes and I am outta here" to sure doc, lets cut me open. He would tell me that just like the doctor said, after they gave me the calming medication I did relax and became very happy and comfortable with everything around me. And he didn't recall my exact words, but when the surgeon returned as promised in ten minutes he asked me how I was feeling and I was all fine, and when he asked if I was ready to go, and I answered in the affirmative. I would ask how I sounded and over time, it became clear to him that there was something a little odd, but he just assumed it was the lack of the anxiety, but he said when they rolled me away I was waving and smiling and almost exhuberant. That has led to my really trying to remember because I knew that was a bit uncharacteristic of my personality, and the conversation eveolved over time to where I started wondering if what they gave me to relax me had anything to do with my giving my approval to go ahead with the surgery after I had stopped it. But then i would do the mental math and you know how things need to add up and I would say, okay, the nurse would have to be in on it, and the well renouned surgeon, and hospital, and they would have to know that the drug they were giving me to calm me down would make me change my mind and say yes, and to make sure they would have to know that the anestesia would erase my memory so I couldn't be upset with them, and since they can't predict how a person will react so specifically especially right there in front of my family, it just would have to be such a conspiracy, I couldn't see it and would think, I guess I had to have changed my mind. Even though I can't find any way that I could have gone from where I was in my head that I didn't sya out loud to the surgeon, which was that I was feeling obligated to let him prove to himself that I wasn't under some medicine reaction anxiety that was making me decide against the surgery. I knew it was too drastic for me and I wasn't doing it under any circumstances.

Fast forward to a few years later. Now just short of 2 years post op, I started developing a lot of health problems. My other doctors were diagnosing me with hormonal issues, perimenopause, and as they got worse over the next few years, as I had a complete meltdown of my entire central nervous system and started having "true" anxiety. This wasn't nerves or stress. This was something I had never experienced in my 42 years to then, and I began having complete panic meltdowns eventually just from a ringing phone. I also developed severe blistering on my nose, lips and face, and a million other things that alone might seem minor, but it was becoming clear I was very mentally ill. Then one day I was having a phone conversation with a cousin about her half sister who was having a lot of troubles and when she listed everything, I thought wow that sounds a lot like what is happening to me. Then a day later, I get a call out of the blue from a lifelong friend I hadn't spoken to in a long time and her husband was about to be put on permanent disability and she rattled off efverything he was dealing with, and I heard the same series of problems I was having, plus the person I heard about the day before and then I tried to figure out the common denominator. They had the same surgery that had been performed on me. So I started researching fiercely and started finding many things that prove that there are studies showing all of the problems are from the surgery, and that even though it claims many benefits, turns out, they have been and still ar hiding a really serious problem that a high percentage of people have, but it happens so far down teh road, few people put it together with the surgery, just like me. But I had my studies and after three years of agoraphobia and the loss of my ability to work, we lost everything we had, cars, house, to bankruptcy and my inability to work, adnthe side effect issues are expensive because you can't get the medical profession to listen to you because they jsut want to prescribe you more drugs and keep the process going. But when I finally saw my original surgeon, and remember, I still think I gave my permission and just couldn't remember it even though I was disturbed by how that could happen, but I just wanted to get well, and the surgeon admitted everything I was experiencing was valid. He told me I needed to go see specialists, and they were, a psychiatrist because I will have to have medications to treat the many mental illnesses I have developed. I would also need a Psychologist for therapy to help me overcome the problems I have developed from the years of mental decline because you can't get a psychiatrist to provide therapy, an endocrinologist to test my thyroud and other hormone levels, and since I mentioned I had been told I might be perimenopausal, a gynecologist. So I left feeling relieved that I finally know what has been causing my troubles and I could get doctors to finally start listening becasue I have been treated so badly before that and I asked the doctor to be prepared to give me a letter for my doctors to listen to me because nobody would listen to me before. And then I continued to research and the more I learned, I have come to the knowledge that the life span for people after this surgery is between 9 years and 13 years when they have the problems I have, and the numbers are much higher than they thought, believed 20%. Think fo that and let it sink in. Now I have the documentation that they knew that all of this was a big problem back in 1983 and yet to make it mainstream and a big money maker, they chose to leave out the complete truth that would make it cost prohibitive to insurance companies to keep rubber stamping it because the patients would be coming for regular blood work that so far by my tests, would run about $15,000 per year for the rest of you life. By not telling, they save the money form the other things they were paying for later, and this pretty much makes them eventually uninsurable, and many commit suicide, and that is a formal study I have. I had tried myself jsut 4 months before those phone calls told me where to look for relief because I had already lost so many years and my poor husband had lost the wife he married, and we were the most happy couple you could find before the surgery, but now the love is there, but I knwo the burden must make him miserable even though he would never say it. We have lost everything. My business that I had started, we lost the entire investment because I got sick to where I couldn't do anything and everything went to medical bills $4,000 a month out of my pocket, and I couldn't do anything. Then, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and was having to have surgery. I hadn't been able to leave my house but for rare times when I got lucky that the date landed on a day I was able so long as my husband took off work and took me through it all. We were standing in my mother's room just after consent and before sugery and the anestesiologist finished the consent questions and mom signed, and then went into t his almost "legal definition" of a drug he was going to give my mom, and he told her that she would remain fully awake, and be able to talk and seem lucid, but basically it was the "I don't care" drug and that she wouldn't remember anything because no matter what she said or did, he would tell her secrets, and she won't remember anything she says anyway because it erases your memory. My husband was across the room and both our eyes locked and I started getting dizzy at the accuracy of his description because it was the same scenario I ad described to my husband that would ahve had to exist for my surgeon to fool me into having the surgery that I now knew was killing me and had already taken everything from me, including my life as far as quality, and I have been mostly bedridden for the last three years. And now you know what I was thinking. I was so angry because I just really suspected that is what happened. So I immediately called an attorney and everyone was uninterested because of the statute of limitations. But I was within the extention when you learn something material within the final, no exceptions deadline. But I thought I jsut wanted to get well and I knew I didn't have it in me to go through what I would have to probably. I would die before I could get any recovery for all that had been done to me, if I could prove it,a dn I believed that if he did it, he certainly wouldn't put it into the medical records. But I finally got through my moms ordeal nad it ate at me and I had to know. I just got my records this week and ther eit was. But it didn't tell that I changed my mind on the surgery, and it also didn't have that the nurse gave it to me, but the anestesiologits did. There were no normal notes that the nurse does before and after the surgery that I saw in the records for my gall bladder surgery at the same hospital and same surgeon. Everything else was the same but no nurses records like my other surgery. They, 100 pages in, they had buried her 4 pages in with the nurses records that were all in date order, but hers were with the inpatient notes 4 days after and I held my breath, and there it was. She noted my anxiety and t hat I was changing my mind about the surgery. Then that was it. nothing written ever again by her before or after the surgery. But she had made notes on everything every few minutes, and made her entry of my decision at 11:20am. Then on the page there was a square that they put the time to the OR. 11:40am. That covered the 20 minutes for her to get my surgeon, convince me that I was having a reaction to the antacid so that he could conivnce me to allow them to give me someting, and he needed permission to give me an injection obviously because I was leaving. In my records, there was nothing given me to calm me down for him to come back and see if I still wanted to leave. And I looked up the antacid they gave me and there is no such thing as an anxiety reaction. I was given Versed by the nurse. And I have the documents to prove that they chose to not make any n otes for 20 minutes before the surgery when the last note was that I was restless and anxious and wanted to cancel the surgery. So I am filing as soon as I decide on my attorney since they find their way when you have so much documentation and such severe losses as me, but also I have proof so many have killed themselves because they are hiding that the surgery can cause permanent brain damage that will make you die. Andn of course, I can guarantee you that this is going to be the next big class action lawsuit we hear on the national news like the boob implants years ago. But trust me, if you are reading this before a surgery, if you change your mind, don't feel guilty and if you choose to allow any doctor to give you something to calm you down, speak up and ask the nurse and doctor to make notes in your record that you have decided to not have the surgery, and that you are going to accept a mild sedative if you think you are really having a reaction that is causing you to be unreasonably anxious. But I say, if you don't want it, LEAVE. You can come back any time. You can't undo it once done no matter the sugery. And now I see that Versed is becoming so popular from my research becasue it erases your memory. I never imagined there was a drug you could be given that would erase your memory but leave you appearing lucid. Well, there is. And thankfully I didn't know until I heard that other doctor tell my mother what he did or I still wouldn't know. I truly believe, because I had been praying tearfully to God to help me either find what was wrong with me or just let me die in my sleep. I don't want to be dead, but I don't want to continue in this state of living dead either. We have lost nearly 9 years to this greedy surgeon that played God that day. And I fully plan on nailing his license and hide to the wall. He has been making millions and millions and gained fame with his fortune for being the one that was teaching other surgeons this surgery because it was becoming the fastest growing specialty in the nation. It is a real money maker for the healthcare industry, and the insurance company has to be in on the "keep quiet" part or they wouldn't be rubber stamping the sugery like they are. So I plan on taking them all on. I mean the insurance company for collusion, the hospital for not having a protocol for what to do if a patient changes their mind about surgery. The surgeon, I fully plan on taking every dime he has earned since he did this to me because he stole my entire life from me. I went from living a wonderfully happy life with financial security to losing everything and a mental invalid except for the part of my brain that used to be known for its amazing creativity and ability. Now it still works, but I have to try to teach it to stop inventing things for me to act on because the part of my brain that does the followthrough can't do anything anymore. I have to give myself daily injections. I have to force feed myself daily. I have to take fist fulls of vitamins and minerals to stop all of the oddball things that were happening to me that I didn't knwo were all related, but I was able to help with my own research.

I dont' know why I am posting htis except that I feel like I will explode if I dont' tell someone that you can have your life stolen from you by people who are greedy and will sell their soul and yours to the devil for money. And Versed might be a good thing if you don't want to remember your surgery. But you had better make sure you discuss it before any surgery if your surgeon is planning on using it at all.

Best to anyone who is in either situation as me. The post surgery that you weren't told the whole truth about, or given the equivalent of a date rape drug to force you to do what you don't want to do and have the right to decide you don't want to do.

Any surgeon who would give you a psychotropic drug when implying he is giving you a mild sedative to counter some kind of reaction he says you are having that might be causing you to make an irrational decition, just dont' trust. I used to trust all doctors. Now I can't trust any. Ruined for life after the hell I have lived through following htis and the horrid treatment I have been through with the many other doctors who could have all helped me early enough to prevent the permanent brain and organ damage I have now, but they were all too quick to jsut give hte fastest diagnosis, ignore what I was crying and begging them to do which was test my nervous system because something was happening that was really bad and I couldn't understand what it is, so please test. No looking back, it was all ther ein my blood work but nobody would listen or help me unless I would sign on to their chosen misdiagnosis that I kenw in my heart was wrong... Go figure. I think we need a major healthcare overhaul and remove the opportunity for surgeons to make extreme profits for unnecessary surgeries.

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