Thank You everyone for the replies!
I started this post because I thought it would be of interest. By the replies, I guess it was. It was not my intention to scare anyone away from a colonoscopy. It can save your life, simple as that.
Lessons I've learned; I will have colonoscopies in the future. I won't tell the anesthetists how to do their job. I won't bring a recorder with me.
There comes a time when I need to trust medical professionals. Life expectancy keeps going up so their doing something right!
I started double checking and digging into what doctors propose doing to me after someone who "really knows what he's doing" messed me up with some anesthetics, fortunately it seems to not have been permanent and I was able to re-learn the stuff I lost. If this was the first time I would have been more lenient, but I let them know I had had issues before and the doc waived it off. I'd sure consider bringing a recorder with me, though when it comes time for the colonoscopy they're gonna be doing it with me fully conscious or they're not touching me.
@moliere: "Unconsciousness" is a somewhat ambiguous term, but generally means not responsive to painful stimuli. But one can be in an altered state of consciousness, not quite unconscious. Even being asleep would not constitute being 'a party' to a conversation. If the OP was awake the entire time, that would probably be ok in a one party consent state, but it doesn't sound like he was.
Here is the medical term (this is from a dental text, but I have seen others and they similar) You will note the patient is responsive to verbal commands even if they are in an amnesic state:
Moderate sedation (this definition was previously associated with conscious
sedation)—“a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients
respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by light
tactile stimulation. No interventions are required to maintain a patent airway, and
spontaneous ventilation is adequate. Cardiovascular function is usually
“Note: In accord with this particular definition, the drug(s) and/or techniques used
should carry a margin of safety wide enough to render unintended loss of
consciousness unlikely. Repeated dosing of an agent before the effects of previous
dosing can be fully appreciated may result in a greater alteration of the state of
consciousness than is the intent of the dentist. Further, patients whose only response
is reflex withdrawal from repeated painful stimuli would not be considered to be in
a state of moderate sedation.”
(Malamed, Sedation: A Guide to Patient Management, emphasis mine)
But you raise an interesting question: if a patient says 'stop' after he's been sedated, and the doctor is aware the patient is in an altered state of consciousness, what's the doctor supposed to do? Use his best judgement, or listen to the direction of a drugged up patient?
Once the patient says stop then whatever is being done should be stopped as soon as is possible. There can be some flex for what is needed to finish or if something is necessary to preserve life. The assumption should always be "no is no" - to take it to a different venue do you want someone second guessing you in sex if you are doped up but decide to stop? Then again, what is the "best judgement" - here it could very well have been what was convenient for the doctor, damn the patient. Sure seems like this one did not have a high priority on managing the patient pain. Edit - here's an interesting theoretical possibility. What if the doctor backed off, dealt with the immediate pain, then reestablished consent under the same mental conditions that it was withdrawn under? That, combined with the initial consent while sober, could work. It would require a bit of effort on his part, but maybe not as much as you would think given that the patient would likely rapidly forget the former pain. In any case from what I've read most people should be able to do it just fine without drugs if they can stay calm and deal with patches of mild/moderate discomfort/pain, which still seems to make the most sense.
I've advised patients of their rights as a patient and their right to refuse any procedure they want, including routine, but unnecessary IV's, or gyn exams if they're definitely against it. But there are times you need to trust the judgement of the dr. I know a woman who had an open cholecystectomy (not laparoscopic). Once inside, the surgeon saw suspicious nodules on her appendix and she removed the appendix, though the patient hadn't consented to that. That's where trusting your doctor's judgement comes in.
But was she saying "no" at the time? Again this is one of the reasons I prefer to be as fully conscious as possible. I can be actively consenting, maintain control, and (most importantly) not have my brain fucked up by the drugs.