$178 Million Awarded To Former Lieutenant Left Brain-Damaged After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Cases, Surgery

Clay Chandler, at 6’1” and 375 pounds, underwent gastric bypass surgery after his doctors recommended that the procedure was less risky than to continue living life in his condition. Now Chandler is left with $250,000 in medical bills a year.

After undergoing gastric bypass surgery, Chandler was left brain-damaged and unable to speak intelligently, walk, feed, or bathe himself. What went so terribly wrong?

After undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, Chandler went into respiratory failure and was admitted to the intensive care unit. Over a week later it was discovered that Chandler fluids from his bowel leaking into his abdomen.

Eventually the bariatric surgeon took Chandler back into surgery to correct the complication, however, it was too little too late. Chandler’s blood pressure dropped so low that he had a “low-flow stroke” where a brain does not receive enough blood.

Chandler fell into a coma for the next two weeks after surgery. The horror didn’t end here for Chandler. Not only were the doctors negligent in post-surgical care, the hospital care provided to a comatose Chandler was completely inadequate.

Chandler, on a respirator, was given no eye drops to lubricate his eyes, which led to permanent loss of eyesight because the dryness caused his retinas to burn. It was apparent to the jury and anyone else reading this story that all the health care providers involved in Chandler’s care did not provide anywhere near the standard of care expected. There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of care.

To rub salt in the wound, it was discovered that Chandler’s bariatric surgeon had performed only 21 bariatric surgeries while boasting that he carried the American Society of Bariatric Surgery’s Center of Excellence Seal. The seal requires at least 50 surgeries. Not only did the surgeon botch the surgery, but also he failed to care for the patient post-operatively and committed fraud.

The jury awarded $178 million in medical negligence and fraud damages. It is likely that Chandler would trade that dollar amount just to have his life back.

The bariatric surgeon settled before trial and Chandler agreed in the settlement not to disclose details. The surgeon is still performing surgeries at the hospital, despite what happened to Chandler.

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