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Bariatric Surgery Error Claims in Philadelphia

Over the last 20 years, weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery or obesity surgery, has become more and more common as a way for patients to lose significant weight quickly and try to improve the quality of their lives. It has also become big business for surgeons and hospitals with progressive growth in the number of surgeons claiming to specialize in such procedures and in hospital-based weight loss surgery programs. Because these procedures are often not covered by insurance, they can be lucrative for both the surgeons performing them and hospitals where they are performed.

Different Types of Weight Loss Procedures

There are several types of weight loss surgery procedures, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, gastric banding, gastric sleeve and duodenal switch with pancreatic diversion. All of these surgeries are designed to produce rapid weight loss. In order to induce weight loss, bariatric surgeries make changes to a patient’s digestive system that limit how much the patient can eat. These surgeries may also reduce the number of nutrients that a patient’s body can absorb.

Consequences of Weight Loss Surgeries

While weight loss surgery can have significant benefits for the patient, it also presents a variety of serious short and long-term risks. It is therefore critical that these procedures only be performed on appropriate patients, by properly credentialed surgeons, and in hospitals with the expertise to promptly recognize and address the potential complications.

Weight loss surgery should only be performed on patients who have demonstrated that they cannot achieve weight loss by improving their diet and exercise habits and/or who have serious health problems as a result of their weight. To qualify for weight loss surgery, patients should generally have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or a BMI of 35-40 with a serious weight-related health problem.

Healthcare Provider Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the surgical team and hospital to closely monitor weight loss surgery patients during and after surgery, including long after the patient has left the hospital. Because weight loss surgery patients are often in relatively poor health, major surgery presents more risks to them than it may to the average person. In addition, because of their body habitus, weight loss surgery patients tend to decompensate more quickly than other patients, meaning that any complications can happen more quickly and with more severe results.

Medical mistakes causing injuries or death in weight loss surgery patients tend to occur as a result of the following:

  • Poor patient selection
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to recognize or treat intra- or post-operative complications (such as leaks, infection, excessive bleeding, blood clots, breathing problems, etc.)
  • Failure to recognize malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies, resulting in neurological damage

Let Our Attorneys Help You Today

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of weight loss surgery, contact us today for a free consultation. Youman & Caputo has successfully handled many cases involving bariatric surgery error claims. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers understand the surgeries and know how to properly assess and prosecute these cases.