Gastric Bypass Surgery Malpractice Lawsuits
Gastric bypass surgery, the surgerical treatment option for obesity, is proving to be one of the more dangerous "elective" surgeries with some medical professionals estimating the mortality rate as high as 2%. The percentage that is proving even more difficult to estimate is how many of these deaths were unpreventable and how many can be attributed to malpractice.
In order to perform a gastric bypass surgery a surgeon must have the proper training and experience, be working in a clinical setting with adequate support for all aspects of management and assessment, and have at his disposal all the proper equipment. As the numbers of persons requiring gastric bypass grows, there grows with them a perhaps too eager desire to meet this demand. In recent legal settlements it was found that gastric bypass surgery patients were treated in facilities that lacked equipment appropriately sized for obese persons. These items ranged from diagnostic tools, CAT scanners, instruments, and operating tables. It was a critical error and cost the hospitals thousands in legal damages.
Another issue of concern is the number of operations a surgeon performs in a day. Because the demand for gastric bypass surgeons has grown so rapidly, and because a surgeons is paid per surgery (4,000 to 6,000 dollars per surgery), it is not uncommon for surgeons to perform as many as five gastric bypasses in a single day. If a physician performs an operation too hastily or while overly fatigued, he is putting his patient at risk.
The failure of a physician to respond immediately when a patient complains of symptoms resulting from suture line leak, or other complications, is another example of medical malpractice. In most cases the leak can be detected by a simple x ray. Yet in some cases it can not. In these instances, a surgeon's failure to perform immediate exploratory gastric surgery when symptoms indicate the probability of a leak, regardless of x-ray results, is another example of possible malpractice. It is also the surgeon's responsibility, not only to adequately monitor the patient's convalescence, but to properly educate the patient and his or her family on post surgery recovery so that in the event complications arise the response will be swift.
Finally, Gastric Bypass is a surgical treatment for obesity. Generally the treatment is only appropriate for persons who or at least 100 pounds overweight or have a body mass index of 40 or higher. Persons with a slightly lower body mass index may qualify if they have severe diabetes or life threatening cardiopulmonary problems. If a surgeon "sells" a patient on the idea that he requires gastric bypass when he or she does not, than this might also be considered an example of malpractice. It is important to remember that gastric bypass is not a cosmetic surgery but a treatment option for people suffering from obesity.
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