Via Live Science, supposedly unconscious patients under certain dosages of general anaesthesia exist in a zombie-like state in which they can respond to commands, yet have no impulses of their own and feel nothing:
New findings point to the possibility of a state of mind in which a patient is neither fully conscious nor unconscious, experts say.
This possible third state of consciousness, may be a state in which patients can respond to a command, but are not disturbed by pain or the surgery, according to Dr. Jaideep Pandit, anesthetist at St John’s College in England.
Pandit dubbed this state dysanaesthesia, and said the evidence that it exists comes partly from a recent study, in which 34 surgical patients were anesthetized, and had their whole body paralyzed except for their forearm, allowing them to move their fingers in response to commands.
In the patients who responded to the doctor’s command by moving their hand, the doctors took it as a sign of consciousness, and increased the anesthetic dose. However, Pandit argues these patients were not “conscious.” The fact that patients only responded to command, and didn’t move spontaneously shows their state of mind is different from normal consciousness, he said.