Bariatric surgery, also known as gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding surgery, or weight loss surgery, has become an increasingly common procedure. When the surgery is performed, the stomach is surgically altered to decrease its capacity, leading to weight loss.
The benefits of bariatric surgery can be great. Existing research shows that bariatric surgery generally results in long-lasting weight loss. This in turn can help patients to manage or recover from diabetes, gain better cardiovascular health, and manage or overcome a host of other medical issues. Indeed, the mortality rate for patients who undergo a successful bariatric surgery is between 23 percent and 40 percent lower than pre-surgery.
But the risks of bariatric surgery are also great. Bariatric surgery can lead to complications similar to other major surgeries, including infections, pain, reactions to anesthesia, and blood clotting in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism). Bariatric surgery also carries with it some unique risks, including:
- intra-abdominal infection
- intestinal obstruction
- abdominal hernia
- gastric leakage
- injury to other abdominal organs
- chronic vomiting
- low blood sugar
- heart problems
- nutritional deficiencies, anemia, or osteoporosis
Up to 20 percent of patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery must have future surgeries as a result of complications from the first procedure. Further, studies indicate that one out of every three gastric bypass patients dies as a result of the original surgery, and those patients who require a second surgery have an even greater risk of death.
All surgeries carry potential risks. But, like many other surgeries and procedures, medical negligence during gastric bypass surgery can cause devastating injury, disability, or death.
Because of the very serious risks of gastric bypass surgery, it is to be used only as a last resort, for those whose weight poses a severe health risk, and who cannot lose weight by other means. Permitting a patient to undergo the surgery who does not meet these criteria falls below the accepted standard of care, regardless of the outcome. Likewise, the failure to inform a potential gastric bypass patient of the very serious risks of the surgery is also a deviation from the accepted standard of care.
Gastric bypass medical malpractice can take many forms. These include:
- A failure to fully disclose the risks of the surgery
- A failure to completely rule out all other treatment options
- Performing bariatric surgery on a patient who does not meet the criteria described above
- Performing bariatric surgery improperly
- A failure to immediately identify and treat common complications
- A failure to continue to monitor the patient well after surgery
If you or a loved one has experienced complications following bariatric surgery, it is important to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Only by speaking with a top lawyer can you determine whether your case involved routine, unpreventable complications, or was the result of errors or omissions by the medical staff involved in your procedure. An experienced attorney can help you get to the bottom of your particular case, and help you to decide whether to take legal action.
If you have any questions about a serious injury resulting from a medical procedure, please give us a call us at 312-527-4500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation. You can also learn more by following us on Twitter, reviewing our LinkedIn or Avvo.com pages, and by reviewing our website.