The medical malpractice lawyers at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC represent people that suffer complications following weight loss surgery due to mistakes or negligence. If you or someone you love suffered serious complications following weight loss surgery at Bristol Hospital, contact us to find out if you have a claim.
Bariatric Weight-Loss Surgery Program
Hospital information on weight-loss surgery says weight loss is a chronic disease that is difficult to cure using only medical treatment. Patients in the Bristol Hospital’s bariatric program are asked to make a life-long commitment to establish healthy habits in eating and lifestyle. Requirements for entering the program are strict.
To be a candidate for weight-loss surgery, patients must:
- Weigh 100 pounds or more over their ideal weight or have a body mass index of 40 or greater
- Have a body mass index of at least 30, plus have one or more disorders related to obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea
- Not have any severe medical or psychological conditions that would make this surgery too risky
- Not be dependent upon drugs or alcohol
- Have tried but not succeeded in prior attempts to lose weight
- Recognize that this surgical procedure is serious
- Understand a commitment is necessary to a more healthy diet and lifestyle
- Have physical problems related to obesity that interfere with work, the ability to walk, or family function
A team of specialists supports the patient through the weight loss program. This includes bariatric surgeons, nurses experienced in treating weight-loss patients, dieticians, exercise physiologists and mental health care providers.
Types of Bariatric Surgery Offered
There are a number of ways to use surgery for weight loss. Some methods are based on restricting food intake by making the stomach smaller. Others may use an additional procedure that interferes with the body absorbing calories.
The kinds of bariatric surgery performed at the hospital include laparoscopic gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, Lap-Band®, and revisional procedures.
This surgery bypasses a large part of the stomach and the small intestine. It makes the stomach smaller so it can hold only a minimal amount of food. Bypassing a large part of the stomach and the small intestine prevents digestive juices from these areas from reaching the food and fewer calories are absorbed. The procedure is done in two parts.
First, the surgeon, using staples, separates a small part of the top of the stomach from a much larger portion of the stomach. The small upper part, which becomes a pouch, will receive food. Because it is so small, only a minimal amount of food can go into the stomach. The patient will be satisfied by this slight amount of food. The next step is the bypass part of the procedure. The surgeon connects a bit of the small intestine (a part called the jejunum) to the pouch, bypassing the large part of the stomach and small intestine that secrete digestive juices.
This procedure reduces the volume of the stomach by 85 percent or more. The part that is removed and discarded is the portion of the stomach that produces ghrelin, an appetite- and hunger-stimulating hormone. This procedure is believed to have the following advantages:
- It is less risky for patients who should not have the more invasive bypass surgery
- Weight-related health problems are greatly reduced
- The outlet to the stomach, called the pylorus, is not removed, minimizing the problem called dumping syndrome (diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting)
- Lessens the patient’s chances of developing ulcers
Some disadvantages include:
- Some insurance companies consider the procedure investigational and will not cover it
- Part of the procedure is irreversible
- Patients can fail to lose weight if they snack too often or do not exercise
During this operation the surgeon places an adjustable silicone band around the top of the stomach, creating a smaller stomach that holds the food. This cuts down on how much food the patient can eat and slows down digestion. The band is connected to a port implanted slightly below the skin by a thin flexible tube. A balloon inside the band can be inflated or deflated with saline during follow-up visits. This can extend the time the patient feels full.
This operation is done to correct a previous bariatric procedure that has not produced successful results.
Risks of Bariatric Surgery
As with any type of surgery, bariatric surgery has risks. They include:
- Problems with anesthesia
- Death (which is rare)
- Bowel obstruction
- Dumping syndrome (diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting)
- Low blood sugar
- Stomach perforation
These risks are increased by negligent care during the procedure. Mistakes that can lead to complications include:
- Failure to recognize complications
- Failure to detect infection
- Failure to communicate with staff
- Perforation of the stomach or other organs during surgery
Contact a Bristol Bariatric Surgery Malpractice Lawyer
If you suffered from serious complications after bariatric surgery and you believe inadequate care may be the cause, you can seek legal help from the weight loss surgery lawyers at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC. Our attorneys successfully represent patients that are injured by hospital negligence and can help you.