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Judge Sets Trial Date For Gastric Bypass Suit

Dec 24, 2003 | The Winchester Star The civil trial date for a $5 million medical malpractice lawsuit involving a surgical weight loss procedure has been set for Sept. 8, 2004, in Winchester Circuit Court.

The suit names four Winchester physicians and two area clinics as being responsible for a man’s death after a surgery meant to help him lose weight allegedly went awry.

Shayne Biser died Oct. 30, 2001, one week after having gastric bypass surgery at Winchester Medical Center.

The surgery seals off a portion of the stomach to reduce food intake, and is designed to aid in weight loss.

The lawsuit alleges Shayne Biser’s surgeon, Troy M. Glembot, “had difficulty” during the operation.

That difficulty might have caused an internal leak that required additional surgery to remedy, the lawsuit states.

During the second operation, Shayne Biser went into cardiac arrest and died, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges Glembot and the other physicians who saw Shayne Biser following his surgery were negligent in their treatment.

The lawsuit requests $5 million in damages for his estate.

Before finding in Biser’s favor, the Winchester civil jury will have to decide three things, court records state.

Primarily, the jury must determine if the physicians named in the suit were negligent in Biser’s treatment.

If the jury finds the physicians were negligent, the jury must then decide if that negligence caused Biser’s death.

If the jury decides Biser’s estate is entitled to damages, they then must recommend how much those damages should be, and how the money should be divided among members of Biser’s estate.

Glembot works at the Winchester Surgical Clinic, and is one of four physicians named as defendants in the suit. Gerald L. Bechamps and Anita Minghini, who also work at the clinic, are named, as is the clinic itself.

The suit also names Benjamin Franklin Lewis, a doctor at Winchester Pulmonary and Internal Medicine Associates. Winchester Pulmonary is named as a defendant in the suit as well.

As of Oct. 29, the Winchester Surgical Clinic no longer performs gastric bypass surgery, said Daniel Rodgers, clinic administrator. Biser’s lawsuit did not factor into their decision, Rodgers said.

“We couldn’t afford to buy malpractice insurance to cover that procedure,” he said. “We would love to be able to continue to do it. The (Winchester) Surgical Clinic would welcome the opportunity to continue doing the surgery in a climate where we could obtain reasonable malpractice insurance.”

State law mandates the most damages a plaintiff can receive in a lawsuit of this type is $1.6 million.

The jury could still decide Shayne Biser’s family is owed more than that, said Malcolm P. McConnell III, attorney for Shayne Biser’s family.

In that case, McConnell said, the judge likely would award the family the maximum damages allowed by law.

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