Gastric Bypass Surgery Complications and Lawsuits
Examining data from 1993 to 2007, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center estimated that the number of bariatric procedures has plateaued at about 113,000 procedures per year. Unfortunately, some surgeries don’t go as planned, and the result can be painful and even life-threatening.
Gastric Bypass Surgery Side Effects and Risks
According to Mayo Clinic and other sources, gastric bypass complications can include:
- blood clots;
- severe bleeding;
- leakage in the stomach;
- injury to the digestive tract;
- respiratory arrest;
- diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea;
- hair loss and thinning;
- kidney stones and gallstones;
- ulcers on the small intestines; and
- trouble absorbing nutrients, which could lead to anemia, neurological problems, bone marrow disease, and kidney stones.
A surgeon should advise you of these risks before scheduling the operation.
Gastric Bypass Lawsuits in the News
July 24, 2007, the Toledo Blade reported that 51-year-old Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis lost his gastric bypass lawsuit despite nearly dying after surgery. As ESPN also reported, Weis claimed that his surgeons “allowed him to bleed internally for 30 hours before performing a second surgery to correct the complication.”
During the trial, his doctors testified that bleeding is a common complication and that they believed it would subside on its own. A second surgery may have caused a pulmonary embolism.
It likely did not help Weis’s case that he declined to take part in a six-week preoperative program before his surgery.
In November 2010, a surgeon perforated an organ while performing gastric bypass surgery on a 278-pound woman. When she went back to the hospital to have the perforation repaired, she wound up needing to have both legs amputated, according to a CBS News affiliate.
“[Her attorney] filed a lawsuit against the medical center claiming they failed to monitor her and failed to act when she had symptoms of blood clots in her legs, even though he says they knew she had a pre-existing blood clotting condition,” reporter Dave Savini stated. “Simply because someone happens to get ill on a holiday doesn’t mean that they’re not entitled to that same standard of care, and that clearly, clearly in this case was not abided by.”
In another case, a man suffered a brain injury and damage to both corneas during gastric bypass surgery, per WOKV. The family’s medical malpractice attorney asserted that the hospital allowed unqualified doctors to perform the operation. A jury agreed and awarded the wheelchair-bound man and his family $178 million.
“I believe that this verdict represents a jury’s message to this hospital and this hospital chain that you need to put your patients first instead of worrying about your profits,” their attorney stated.