Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents clients nationwide who have been injured by gastric bypass surgery. 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. If you have been injured from gastric bypass surgery, you might be eligible to receive a large financial settlement in a medical malpractice or product liability lawsuit.
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 along with gastric banding have become common procedures in what is known as bariatric surgery performed to control obesity. The two primary manufacturers of gastric bypass staplers in the U.S. are Ethicon and Medtronic (which purchased Covidien, formerly U.S. Surgical Corp., in 2015). Both companies have had serious problems reported with their products.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a gastric bypass procedure, 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 which have encouraged overweight people to seek out quick and easy ways to lose weight.
Gastric bypass surgery has grown in popularity over the past several decades as a last resort for patients when diet and other weight-reduction measures failed to control their obesity. The procedure divides the stomach into two separate parts—one of which is a very small upper pouch and the other which is the remainder of the stomach. The small intestine is then connected by the surgeon to the smaller part to aid digestion. The gastric bypass stapler allows surgeons to close the incisions made during the procedure, which are too large for stitches. After the surgery, patients eat less food because the upper portion of the stomach becomes full more quickly, controlling the appetite.
Failure to Properly Screen Patients
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 surgery has proven successful for the right patients, it has also had disastrous consequences when performed on the wrong patients. 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 in which weight problems are contributing 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 the age of 65 who undergo gastric bypass suffer from major complications that threaten their health or diminish their quality of life, as opposed to only eight percent of younger patients.
- The patient should not have too many other health problems that could complicate the procedure.
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. If the patient should not have undergone the procedure to begin with, the surgeon and attending physicians are liable for any problems that result.
What Complications are Associated With Gastric Bypass Procedures?
Up to 15 percent 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 gastric bypass 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 us today so we can arrange a free consultation to answer your questions about your legal rights and how to move forward with your case.
What Kinds of Payouts Have Gastric Bypass Malpractice Plaintiffs Received?
Here is a sample of what some gastric bypass surgery plaintiffs and their families have recovered:
$543,316 jury verdict
A 46-year-old Illinois man received a $543,316 court award after he underwent a gastrectomy procedure to treat his obesity. He claimed the surgeon negligently stapled his stomach and brought some of the nasogastric tube into it, and also created a hole between his stomach and esophagus. These 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 and the plaintiff was warned about them. Nevertheless, the jury compensated the man for his pain ($200,000), medical bills ($326,578), and lost wages ($13,275).
An Illinois woman died after undergoing gastric bypass surgery at the age of 56, survived by her five children. The stapling procedure was apparently done improperly, leading to internal hemorrhage and coma. Her survivors brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctors and hospital, claiming the staple surgery was not done reasonably and that it caused their mother’s death. They sought compensation for her medical and burial costs as well as their grief and anguish. The defendants collectively decided to settle the case with the family before trial for $2.4 million. The bulk of that amount was paid by insurers for the hospital and the treating surgeon (roughly $1.9 million).
A 25-year-old overweight woman underwent a stomach stapling procedure in a hospital outside Chicago. Once she was in recovery, it became apparent the surgery had been botched. She had memory loss, 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. She 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 Win Compensation?
If you have been injured from stomach-stapling surgery, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has access to the resources needed to represent your interests and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. By enlisting the assistance of experts in fields such as medicine and economics, we are able to properly argue and value your case in order to make certain that your present and future expenses are covered. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced gastric bypass injury attorney so we can evaluate your case and begin an investigation. Our attorneys will be able to advise you on your legal options and how best to pursue your claim. If for any reason we are unable to secure compensation on your behalf, you will not be charged for our legal services.