According to statistics published by the National Institute of Health, more than six times as many operations of gastric bypass surgery were performed in the last decade of the 20th century. Although the statistics are not yet available for the first decade of the 21st century, the Institute expects the current pace of more gastric bypass surgical procedures to continue to increase. In fact, it is the most popular type of weight loss surgery performed today in the United States.
Gastric Bypass Procedure
There are two basic ways to perform a gastric bypass procedure, which differs from gastric banding, a procedure that alters the size of the stomach. The first involves stapling off a portion of the stomach in order to permit food to pass around an area inside the small intestine; this is performed by a surgeon. The second involves removing the majority of the stomach. In many cases, up to 4/5 of the stomach might be removed. This procedure, naturally, involves a greater degree of risk.
It is standard for patients to stay in the hospital for up to three days after the operation has been completed. In most situations, patients can get back to doing normal things like going to work in a couple of weeks, but it can take up to five weeks for some patients to resume all normal activities.
There can be serious risks associated with gastric bypass surgery. The Mayo Clinic has stated that patients who undergo gastric bypass surgeries should keep in mind the fact that certain serious complications can sometimes occur, including pneumonia, blood clots, leaking where the staples have been attached to the stomach, and a number of related digestive problems.
The blood clots can form in the leg and may pose a serious threat to the health of the patient if they move to the patient’s lungs through the bloodstream. Similarly, the passage between the small intestine and the stomach may narrow.
Finally, patients may also experience diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. A number of these medical complications can threaten the lives of patients and lead to additional surgical procedures being completed. It may also be necessary for patients to have extended stays in the hospital and drug treatments to fully treat or correct these conditions.
The National Institute of Health funded a study known as the LABS, or Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery. This study indicated that at least 4 percent of patients would go on to experience one or more severe complications or reactions in the month following surgery. Furthermore, up to 2 percent of patients who experienced gastric bypass surgeries lost their lives in the month that followed the surgery.
Negligence and Injury
Several of the deaths and injuries gastric bypass patients experience are due to the failures of physicians to identify, diagnose, and correct one or more of the risks and complications noted in the above section. It is essential to diligently screen patients before they undergo gastric bypass surgery and watch them after surgery to detect any potential complications or infections.
Those who feel that they or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice or negligence following a gastric bypass are encouraged to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Such an attorney will be able to review their client’s claim and assist them in court proceedings.