The following post was put onto the askapatient site recently, where people can post their reactions to drugs administered to them, whether positive or negative. This particular post concerned oral surgery, and it struck quite a note with me, as their grim experience tallied very much with that of my own.
-----start quote from http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=18654&name=VERSED
Was totally awake and conscience during parts of the procedure, I think the dentist was purposefully discreet about using this drug due to it's infamy.
"Well long story short when they say "put under" they mean versed. I took the versed, laughing gas, and the IV which put me to SLEEP (did not put me "under" just made me tired and sleep through the initial part of the procedure). So naturally, I awaken staring at the ceiling and the dentist hover over me thinking oh my god, the people on the internet were right I'm going to experience terrible pain and I just won't remember it. I couldn't move either, as I had noticed the nurse had STRAPPED me into the chair. My first memory is the dentist pulling on my teeth, me being in excruciating pain and him telling me to open my mouth wider. Despite the terrible pain, I could not resist opening my mouth as wide as I possibly could and then apologizing for not doing it properly. Long story short, I remember 3/4 teeth being removed in vivid detail. The pain, the crunching, the blood, I remember 10% of the entire procedure, and how painful it was. i remember gripping the chair so hard i hurt my nails I was in so much pain. If the doctor truley thought I was going to be "under" why is he having a calm cool damn conversation with me and tellling me after each tooth is done and how manys left?? I can only imagine the horror of the other 90% of the procedure I felt but actually am unable to remember. Afterward, the nurse became very argumentive when I confronted her about why I was not put to sleep. She told me I was out, I think I remember, but I don't. This was [sic]"
-----end quote from http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=18654&name=VERSED
This sounds grimly familiar. Being totally compliant, to the point that this dude was apologising for not doing it properly - failing to cooperate fully enough with the torturer that was making him absolutely miserable. I begged my own torturer/ oral surgeon to stop, while under Versed. He told me to stop talking and open my mouth, and I meekly complied, even though I was terrified. The main difference is most people do not remember anything. My experience, together with that of this poster to Askapatient, suggests that some people do. Note this - whenever people remember anything about their experience, it's usually not at all good. In fact, their experience is a nightmare from which they are unable to flee, and terror is the most common memory where there is any recollection at all.
This is one of the features of Versed that rankles as much as anything - the patient is PAYING for a drug that makes them docile, utterly compliant, and amnesic. Could there possibly be a more inviting opportunity for the unscrupulous, the exploitative, the abusive or the incompetent practitioner? Can anyone who pays for this actually be even passingly informed?
The medical profession loves to pass along responsibility, making patients decide between treatments on which they have almost zero knowledge. When it comes to Versed, we're talking about a drug which acts virtually solely in the practitioner's favour. Lo and behold, this one has the least discussion not only about side effects and possible horrible experiences which may result, but the very reason for administering it! An assurance that an injection is a sedative, being told, "This will relax you", is a damnable lie, and probably seriously counter to ethical stipulations by itself. If it's not, the medical profession is in very bad shape indeed.
There is something rather noticeable about the reported reactions to this drug on askapatient.com - either the experience was fine, no problems - or the experience was very bad indeed. Little in between. Now a dishonest statistician might say on average the results are fair to reasonable. But that's like saying - on average - you should be ok if someone takes pot-shots at you. Some will miss altogether with no ill-effects, others will strike home very hard with serious consequences.
The reactions on this askapatient message board reads like an indictment sheet - there is no way the medical profession (as a whole) can be unaware that there's a serious problem here for a significant minority. That's not a small problem for dismissively few people, it's a HUGE problem for a good proportion. But because it leaves mental scars they can be dismissed as some pre-existing condition, flakiness in the patient, whatever, waved away. Good luck in proving it isn't a "pre-existing condition".