Medical Malpractice: Gastric Bypass

Medical Malpractice Mistakes

It has been estimated that one in every five people is classified as obese in the United States.  An obese person whose health and livelihood is in peril is considered morbidly obese.  As a means of reducing their weight, millions of people in the United States turn to gastric bypass surgery, an intrusive surgical operation that involves reducing the size of a patient’s stomach.  As a result, less food is consumed and fewer calories are ingested.  Generally, this leads to weight loss or a greater ability to control one’s weight.  This procedure is not for everyone however.  You must be over one hundred pounds overweight and have already gone through other weight loss procedures.

The process for gastric bypass is divided into two sections.  Prior to the commencement of either section of the surgery, the patient is placed under general anesthesia.  During the first part of the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision and will essentially staple the patient’s stomach shut.  The stomach will be divided; making it smaller and typically will be able to hold only an ounce of food at a time.  Once this is completed, the surgeon will make an incision into the small intestine, allowing for fewer calories to be absorbed during the digestive process.

An alternative to gastric bypass is called laparoscopy, which is less invasive.  This procedure utilizes a small camera which is inserted through small cuts that are made on the patient’s stomach.  The camera guides the surgeon to accomplish the same results as gastric bypass surgery, without cutting open the stomach.  This procedure allows for a quicker recovery period and less pain after the surgery, as well as smaller scars.

As with all surgical procedures, gastric bypass carries risks.  There are some inherent risks to this surgery.  Such risks include:

  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia or medications
  • Blood clots and / or loss
  • Difficulty breathing under anesthesia
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

There have been studies that have shown that within the 30 days that follow gastric bypass surgery 1 in 50 patients died post operation.  Around 3 percent of patients who have had gastric bypass surgery were less than 40 years old and died within 13 years of having the surgery.  Twelve percent of patients who had the surgery died 15 years later.  Additionally, 10 to 20 percent of patients who have had the surgery required follow-up operations to correct complications.  Due to the large number of people who have suffered complications and death after having gastric bypass surgery, the number of medical malpractice claims has been increasing every year.

Complications of the surgery are the result of negligence on the part of the surgeon or other healthcare professions is medical malpractice.  Negligence in the case of gastric bypass surgery usually occurs when a doctor has failed to properly screen a patient, when the surgeon makes an error during the procedure, or the failure of a healthcare professional to adequately provide care in post-surgery recovery.  If you or a loved one has been a victim of gastric bypass malpractice, you need to be aware of the dangers associated with personal injuries.  You should contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

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