Gastric Bypass Malpractice Lawsuit
Thousands of lawsuits have been brought against medical device manufacturers, surgeons, and hospitals by patients who have suffered internal bleeding, organ damage, and other life-threatening injuries after undergoing gastric bypass using surgical staplers.
Several gastric bypass surgeries in recent years have resulted in complications and injuries. If you have been injured from this surgery, you might be eligible to receive a large financial settlement in a medical malpractice or product liability lawsuit.
Let the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC pursue fair compensation to pay for your medical bills and other damages. Contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney at (888) 424-5757 to learn more.
History of Gastric Bypass Surgery
The modern surgical stapler was invented and marketed in the 1960s as a time-saving alternative to manual sutures that surgeons made to close wounds after surgery. In the decades since, gastric stapling and gastric banding have become the leading bariatric surgery procedures to control obesity.
The two primary manufacturers of gastric bypass staplers in the US are Ethicon and Medtronic (which purchased Covidien, formerly US Surgical Corp., in 2015). Both companies have had serious problems reported with their products.
If a gastric bypass surgery has injured you or a loved one, you likely have questions about your legal rights. This web page will address the following topics:
- How does gastric bypass work?
- What complications are associated with gastric bypass procedures?
- What kinds of payouts have gastric bypass malpractice plaintiffs received?
- How can Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers help me win compensation?
How Does Gastric Bypass Work?
Over nine million Americans are classified as morbidly obese. The weight loss industry has pushed “miracle” cures for obesity to help the patient lose weight. The quick weight-loss solutions encourage overweight people to consider surgical solutions, including gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric bypass surgical procedures have grown in popularity over the past several decades as the last resort for overweight patients when diet and other weight-reduction measures failed to control their obesity.
Bariatric procedures divide the stomach into two parts—one of which is a very small upper pouch and the other the remainder of the stomach. The surgeon then connects the small intestine to the smaller part to aid digestion.
The Roux en-Y gastric bypass stapler allows bariatric surgeons to close the incisions to the stomach and small intestine made during the procedure, which is too large for stitches. After the surgical procedure, patients eat less food because the upper portion of the stomach becomes full more quickly, controlling the appetite.
Risks Absorbing Nutrients and Developing Scar Tissue
However, there are risks involved, where many patients experience post-surgery complications from the inability to properly absorb nutrients through normal food intake, leading to nutritional deficiencies, postoperative infection or another serious complication/medical condition.
Scar tissue forms after bariatric surgery when the body sends special cells to the surgical area to help repair damaged tissues. These cells, known as fibroblasts, produce an extra layer of collagen to form scars.
As the scars form on the stomach and intestines, it creates a protective layer over the surgical wound, which helps protect it from further damage. Scars can also help strengthen weakened or torn muscles and ligaments to support the healing process.
Examples of Medical Negligence
In the case of morbid obesity, which seriously threatens a person’s health and life expectancy, successful gastric bypass surgery can prove to be a lifesaver.
But while the gastric bypass procedure has proven successful for the right patients, it has also had disastrous consequences when performed on the wrong patients who suffer serious complications.
Most gastric bypass malpractice cases involve surgeons who did not have the expertise needed to properly perform the procedure or patients who were not good candidates for the operation and should have been directed to other forms of treatment.
Candidates for gastric bypass should be screened for the following criteria:
- The patient must be at least 100 pounds overweight or have a body mass index (BMI) of 40. In cases where weight problems contribute to other serious medical conditions, the minimum BMI may be lowered to 35.
- The patient must be an appropriate age for the procedure. Almost one-third of patients over 65 who undergo gastric bypass suffer from major complications threatening their health or diminishing their quality of life, as opposed to only eight percent of younger patients.
- The patient should not have too many other health problems, such as a family history of blood clots, high blood pressure, or lung disease, that could lead to complications.
Doctors who fail to properly screen their patients for gastric bypass are as much at fault for complications that arise as are those who make critical errors during the procedure.
A medical professional failing to identify a poor candidate for gastric bypass surgery could lead to malpractice lawsuit liability, even if the patient signed an informed consent that they understood the risks involved.
If the patient should not have undergone the procedure, to begin with, the surgeon and attending physicians are liable for any problems or serious injury that occurs as a result.
How Blood Clots and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Affect Gastric Bypass Procedures
Research shows that blood clots and sleep apnea can affect the outcome of a gastric bypass procedure. OSA can interfere with post-surgery recovery and reduce the procedure's efficacy.
Blood clots can cause dangerous side effects such as stroke or pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening. To minimize these risks, patients must meet certain criteria before being considered for a gastric bypass procedure.
Additionally, patients must be monitored during and after surgery to ensure that potential risks are properly addressed and managed. Ignoring patient complaints and prescribing the wrong medication could cause additional post-surgery complications.
Complications Associated with Gastric Bypass Procedures
Up to 15% of gastric bypass patients reportedly experience some form of complication after the surgery. Studies show that two percent of patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery die within the first 30 days after the procedure, and an additional five percent die within a year.
Common complications that result from malpractice in performing this procedure include:
- Bleeding or leaking fluids that cause infections in the abdominal cavity
- Hernia at the incision site
- Gall stones
- Kidney failure
- Pulmonary embolism
- Death due to one or more of the above complications
If you or a loved one has been injured during or as the result of a gastric bypass operation, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC wants to help you obtain compensation, which includes holding your attending surgeon or physician accountable and recovering damages equal to your medical costs, pain, and suffering and other losses.
Contact our bariatric surgery malpractice law firm to schedule a free consultation. We can answer your questions concerning your legal rights and how to move forward with your case as you seek justice for the medical negligence that caused your personal injury.
What Kinds of Payouts Have Gastric Bypass Malpractice Plaintiffs Received?
Here is a sample of what some surgery plaintiffs and their families have recovered:
$543,316 Jury Verdict, Cook County, IL
A 46-year-old Illinois male patient received a $543,316 court award after he underwent gastric bypass surgery to treat his obesity. He filed a medical malpractice case, claiming the surgeon negligently stapled his stomach and brought some nasogastric tubes into the area, creating a hole between the patient's stomach and esophagus.
These surgical errors allegedly caused gastric leaking, sepsis, and other problems requiring therapy, corrective surgery, and time away from his job to heal. He sued the doctor and medical facility for malpractice, seeking compensation for his financial damages, pain, and disability.
The defendants argued these were known, although rare, side effects during and after bariatric surgeries, and the plaintiff was warned about them. Nevertheless, the jury verdict compensated the weight loss patient for his pain ($200,000), medical expenses ($326,578), and lost wages ($13,275).
$2.4 Million Medical Negligence Settlement
An Illinois woman died after undergoing bariatric surgery at the age of 56, survived by her five children. The Roux en-Y stapling procedure was apparently done improperly, leading to internal hemorrhage and coma after the sleeve gastrectomy.
Her survivors hired a medical malpractice attorney who brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctors and hospital. The lawyer claimed the weight loss surgery was not done reasonably and that it caused their mother’s death.
The plaintiffs sought compensation for her medical and burial costs and their grief and anguish due to the bariatric surgery. The defendants collectively decided to settle the case with the family before trial for $2.4 million.
Like the resolutions of most medical malpractice cases, insurers paid the bulk of that amount for the hospital and the treating doctor (roughly $1.9 million).
$2 Million Settlement
A 25-year-old overweight woman underwent a bariatric surgery stomach stapling procedure in a hospital outside Chicago, IL. Once she was in recovery, it became apparent that doctors had botched the surgical procedure.
The patient experienced memory loss and dehydration and was experiencing a condition called gait ataxia.
She sued the attending physicians and hospital, alleging negligence and seeking damages for medical bills, pain, disability, and other losses. The defendants decided to settle the case. The patient received $800,000 in damages from the primary surgeon, $900,000 from a neurologist, and $300,000 from the hospital.
How Can Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Help Me Recover Compensation for Gastric Bypass Malpractice?
Have you been injured from stomach-stapling surgery? Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC has access to the resources needed to represent your interests and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
A medical malpractice lawyer specializing in cases involving gastric bypass surgeries can assist you in recovering from the harm that was done to you.
By enlisting the assistance of experts in fields such as medicine and economics, we can properly argue and value your case to ensure your present and future expenses are covered.
Our law firm can help you with your medical malpractice lawsuit involving gastric weight loss surgery or other procedures as you seek a medical malpractice settlement or verdict. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757.