A newly discovered genetic mutation caused a Scottish woman to endure cuts, burns, broken bones, childbirth and surgery without feeling any pain, according to a case study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

About five years ago, Joanne Cameron, now 71, had what should have been a painful hand surgery at Scotland’s Raigmore Hospital, says Dr. Devjit Srivastava, a consultant in anesthesia and pain medicine at the hospital.

“She mentioned that she does not feel pain and she did not need any anesthesia, which was not a usual day in the office for me,” Srivastava tells TIME. “I disregarded her, actually. I couldn’t believe her.”

Srivastava gave Cameron anesthesia as usual, but decided to check in with her after the operation. When he did, he found that she reported no pain, and didn’t take any painkillers beyond an over-the-counter drug recommended by her doctors.


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