Lawsuits Over Gastric Bypass Malpractice. With thousands of obese Americans opting for gastric bypass surgery, a growing collection of research suggests that this increasingly popular operation can have a hidden risk: inexperienced surgeons. Surgeons promote laparoscopic surgery to patients as safer than traditional more invasive surgery.
But the gastric bypass is so difficult, according to physicians who have tracked the results of their cases, that patients of surgeons who have done fewer than 70 to 100 operations have complications more often and a greater chance of death from those complications than patients of more experienced doctors. These results are exacerbating worries that surgeons are rushing into the field without adequate training. Some hospitals allow surgeons to operate after one weekend seminar, during which they do a handful of cases under the guidance of a more experienced surgeon.
When surgeons began removing gallbladders laparoscopically in the early 1990s, hundreds of patients who had suffered complications from an operation long considered routine filed malpractice claims against their surgeons. Many of these doctors had not undergone much training. The surge in claims occurred three years after the first laparoscopic gallbladder removal, and malpractice specialists expect a similar spike in claims from bariatric surgery patients and their families.
Last fall, patients died after gastric bypass surgery in Boston, Providence, and Iowa. In at least the Boston and Providence cases, surgeons performed the operations laparoscopically. The chiefs of surgery at both hospitals involved Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence said the surgeons were experienced. Even the busiest and longest-running programs in the country see one patient die every 200 to 300 surgeries, and a 10 percent complication rate.
At Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, seven patients died after gastric bypass surgery in the past two years, six of them in 2003, including several in October. One surgeon involved in the cases, Dr. Akella Chendrasekhar, voluntarily stopped performing the surgery.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Gastric Bypass Malpractice
If you or a loved were injured during gastric bypass surgery, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified malpractice attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).