July 8, 2008
By Kate Devlin,Medical Correspondent
Bernadine Coady, 67, was wide awake for the one-hour operation, which is usually performed under a general anaesthetic.
Mrs Coady hypnotised herself before the “keyhole” surgery, an arthroscopy, in which a surgeon drills into a patients knee and inserts a camera to look for possible causes of pain.
She went home the same day “looking very happy”, according to a spokesman for the private Orthopaedics and Spine Specialist Hospital, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
Ms Coady, from March, Cambridgeshire, has been a trained hypnotist for 15 years.
She used her training to hypnotise herself before going under the surgeon’s knife.
It is not the first time that the pensioner has forgone traditional medicine for a pain free operation.
Ten years ago she underwent an operation which involved a surgeon sawing into the bone of her foot, using only hypnosis.
At the time she said: “I said to myself that if I had any pain I was going to liken it to waves lashing against a sea wall.
“Every time it happened, I thought it was the pain going away, like the tide.
“I always thought that it was possible and I am proof that it is.
“I think it could be used for any operation – even heart surgery. If I ever need another operation, I won’t be using anaesthetics.” Mrs Coady, originally from Belize, moved to Britain to train as a nurse more than 40 years ago.
She gained a diploma at the British School of Hypnosis in 1994.
A spokesman for the hospital, where her surgeon was Ahmed Shair, said: “It’s the third time she has been operated on by Mr Shair in this way – the first two were for foot problems.
“She has known Mr Shair for a long time and she came with the express wishthat she wanted to be operated using self hypnosis.
“She has gone home looking very happy so I presume it was a success.”
The spokeswoman added: “Ms Coady is the only patient we’ve operated on in this way.
“If anyone else wanted to come along and have the procedure we would look at it on an individual basis.”
Patients can hypnotise themselves by concentrating on feeling extremely relaxed, in much the same way as traditional hypnotherapy. A spokesman for the National Council for Hypnotherapy said that the technique has been used for centuries for pain relief.
He added: “It is used often other countries, for example Belgium, as an alternative to anaesthetics and patients report that it is very successful, that they feel no pain during their operations.”
Dr. Dave Hill, DCH
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