Many of us know someone who has lost a great deal of weight through gastric bypass surgery. The benefits can be tremendous for those who are considered "morbidly obese" and have been unable to lose enough weight by less drastic means. People who have successfully undergone gastric bypass report better health, more energy, and improved appearance and confidence. Because the surgery has such legitimate benefits, it can be very tempting to pursue.
However, when gastric bypass is negligently performed, it can cause myriad health issues and other problems. It's important to know the risks to maximize the chances of your experience being a positive one.
Gastric bypass surgery involves bypassing most of the stomach and the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). Surgeons create a small stomach pouch, attaching it directly to the small intestine. This creates two mechanisms for weight loss. First, the amount of food the small stomach can hold is restricted, so consumption of food is reduced. Second, bypassing the duodenum reduces the absorption of calories and fat from the food that is consumed.
There are a number of types of gastric bypass, the most common of which is known as "Roux-en-Y" or stomach stapling, RGB, or RNY. This type of surgery may be performed through a large abdominal incision (surgical) or a number of smaller incisions (laparoscopic).
Because it is so common, with nearly 150,000 people undergoing procedures per year, many people are surprised to learn how frequently bad outcomes occur. Recent data suggest that up to 20-25% of gastric bypass surgery patients experience some type of complication. In fact, the death rate in the first month following gastric bypass surgery may be higher than for certain cardiac procedures. The morbidity (death) rate for RNY procedures has been found to be as high as two percent. That's as many as one in fifty patients who die from this procedure, usually within a month of surgery.
There are many risks of gastric bypass, particularly if it is performed negligently. Some of these include:
Of course, not all bad outcomes from surgery are the result of medical malpractice or surgical malpractice. But if a doctor, nurse, or hospital did not observe the accepted standard of care and harm resulted, the patient or their family may be entitled to damages for malpractice.
Inexperience in performing the procedure is one of the leading causes of gastric bypass malpractice. The risks of complications go down significantly, according to the American Medical Association, when a surgeon has performed at least 100 of these procedures. Inadequate training in the procedure can also lead to malpractice.
Other causes of malpractice related to gastric bypass include improperly-equipped facilities, failing to adequately inform patients about risks so that they can give informed consent, failing to properly screen patients for psychological concerns, and ignoring patient complaints of pain or distress following surgery.
If you or a loved one suffered complications following gastric bypass surgery, or your loved one died from complications of a gastric bypass, you may be entitled to damages for malpractice. An ethical, experienced Oregon medical malpractice attorney can help analyze the facts of your case and offer an honest assessment of whether a case is worth pursuing.
If you believe you are a victim of malpractice, you have only a limited amount of time in Oregon to file a malpractice claim. We invite you to contact Huegli Fraser PC for a free, confidential initial consultation. We look forward to answering your questions.
The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent medical malpractice attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
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