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Gastric Bypass Malpractice

Steve Wagner

When a Gastric Bypass Doesn’t Deliver

Indiana is the seventh most obese state, with an adult obesity population of 32.7% a yearly increase of about one percent since the year 2000. Obesity is usually delineated by a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. This is important because of the numerous health problems caused by obesity. In Indiana, some of the most common obesity-related health problems are hypertension (or high blood
pressure), diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and obesity-related cancers.

It’s no secret that weight loss has always been a big business, but in recent years, bariatric surgeries intended to help those most at-risk have become more and more common. Gastric bypass surgery has rapidly become the most popular options for patients who fit the criteria for bariatric surgery:

  • BMI of 40 or higher OR
  • BMI between 35 and 40, with serious health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, or severe sleep apnea

Good candidates will also meet satisfactory reviews of medical and psychological health by an expert team and have strong motivation to lose weight and become healthy.

What is Gastric Bypass?

Gastric bypass reduces the size of the stomach by well over ninety percent. The surgery is complex and delicate, with the surgeon creating a small pouch from the upper portion of the stomach and then reconstructing the gastrointestinal tract to allow both sections of the stomach to empty. Weight loss occurs because all food is routed into the small pouch, stretching the stomach tissue and creating the
sensation of fullness after just a small amount is ingested.

Risk of Injury or Death

The national average risk of injury or death from gastric bypass surgery is comparable to other kinds of surgeries BUT this statistic belies the fact that the data can vary greatly based upon the experience level of the surgeon. Over the past twenty-five years, the United States has gone from seeing 14,000 gastric bypass surgeries each year to nearly 200,000, an increase that has created demand for surgeons who may not quite be ready to perform such a delicate operation.
Complications for patients occur for approximately seven percent of those undergoing laparoscopic procedures and nearly fifteen percent of open surgery patients. Possible complications include:

  • Infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism
  • Bowel Obstruction
  • Hernia
  • Gastrointestinal Leaks
  • Death

In addition, patients may face serious side effects such as nutritional deficiencies or dumping syndrome (related to an intolerance for sugar and fats). Sometimes, the surgery comes at a high cost but does not turn out to be successful. These injuries can require further and costly medical treatment and be quite painful, impacting the patient’s quality of life, as well as the ability to work and provide for his or her family.

Have you experienced debilitating complications, pain, or suffering after a gastric bypass surgery? Do you think an inexperienced surgeon may have been at fault for the wrongful death of a loved one? Our Indianapolis-based medical malpractice attorneys have years of experience and may be able to help ease your burden. Call Wagner Reese now for a FREE consultation: (888) 204-8440.


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