Gastric Bypass Malpractice Attorneys

Graves McClain Gastric Bypass Malpractice Attorneys

Gastric bypass can be a life-changing procedure that provides a patient struggling with obesity or other medical illness with a new outlook on life, especially regarding weight and diet. Medical advancements have allowed the procedure to become safe for those struggling with weight. Nonetheless, patients are still at risk of having a straightforward operation harm their overall health. Therefore, patients who have been harmed after undergoing gastric bypass surgery may be entitled to compensation.

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

According to the National Library of Medicine, gastric bypass is a surgical procedure that changes the layout of the stomach and small intestine to help patients better control food intake. Essentially, the procedure is designed to shrink a person’s stomach, restricting food access to certain portions of the stomach and small intestine, thereby prohibiting the full absorption of most food. This limits the number of calories a person will absorb during the digestive process.

How Surgeons Perform Gastric Bypass

To perform gastric bypass, a patient will be administered anesthesia to render them unconscious during the procedure. Next, a surgeon will staple portions of a person’s stomach, only allowing a particular portion of food to be consumed at one time. Then the surgeon creates a bypass between the stomach and small intestine, allowing food to travel from the pouch created by the staples to the small intestine. This allows food to travel more quickly through the digestive system preventing prolonged calorie absorption.

There are two ways gastric bypass can be performed:

  • Surgical Gastric Bypass: the surgical procedure is performed by cutting a large surgical hole into a person’s belly and connecting the stomach, small intestine, and other organs to create the bypass.
  • Laparoscopy: This procedure is done by inserting a laparoscope (camera) into the belly. The surgeon does this by making a series of minor cuts in the belly, inserting the camera through the cuts, and using the camera to perform the surgery internally.

Laparoscopy is generally the preferred method because it requires a shorter hospital stay, inflicts less pain, creates more minor scars, and poses less risk of infection.

Why is Gastric Bypass Performed?

Gastric bypass is a primary way for a person struggling with weight and diet issues to assist in weight loss. Typically, a surgeon will refuse to conduct the surgery until the patient has attempted to make efforts to improve their diet and exercise. The procedure also helps with a number of health-related afflictions, including:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Infertility
Does Gastric Bypass Have Eligibility Requirements?

Yes, not everyone struggling with medical issues related to their diet, or having difficulty exercising, may be eligible for the procedure. Generally, surgeons will only conduct the procedure when a person has a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher—highly obese. Alternatively, a patient may qualify with a lower BMI (between 30-39.9) if they experience a weight-related illness.

Surgeons will also determine eligibility by whether a person will commit to living a healthier lifestyle. Because the procedure is incredibly invasive, healthcare providers will want to ensure that a patient is willing to commit to healthier lifestyle changes that allow the procedure to be effective.

What Types of Complications are Caused by Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Although many healthcare providers will try to ensure little to no complications occur due to the surgery, this is not always the case. Short-term complications include:

  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia.
  • Blood clots.
  • Lung or breathing problems.
  • Leaks in your gastrointestinal system.

Long-term issues related to a gastric bypass procedure may include:

  • Gallstones.
  • Hernias.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
  • Malnutrition.
  • Stomach perforation..
  • Ulcers.
  • Vomiting.
  • Death, in sporadic cases.
What Can Patients Expect During the Surgical Process

Healthcare providers will generally give patients pre- and post-surgical procedure instructions to prepare themselves for surgery and create a treatment after it is complete.

Preparing for Gastric Bypass Surgery

Healthcare providers will likely require patients preparing for surgery to change certain lifestyle habits in the days and weeks leading up to the surgery. This may include engaging in a rigorous diet and exercise plan and limiting or prohibiting the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other narcotics. In the days and hours before the surgery, the surgeon may require a patient to refrain from eating or drinking altogether.

Recovering from Gastric Bypass Surgery

During the recovery phase after the procedure has occurred, the patient will likely be required to consume any food or liquids, allowing the body to heal. Then the patient will transition from an all-liquid to puree diet and eventually be allowed to eat solid food. Doctors may also prescribe multi-vitamin supplements.

Patients should also expect return visits to the doctor for periodic check-ups, including vitals checks and bloodwork. Patients may experience the following within the first three to six months of surgery:

  • Body aches.
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue.
  • Cold chills.
  • Dry skin.
  • Thinning hair or hair loss.
  • Mood swings.
When Gastric Bypass Fails

Except for gross misconduct on healthcare providers, gastric bypass does not always work for some patients. Generally, patients that fail to lose weight or lose weight but then gain back are likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyles. This may include failing to stick to a strict diet and exercise regimen by failing to exercise and eating foods with high-calorie percentages.

Establishing a Malpractice Claim

Like in most states, Oklahoma doctors take the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm.” This means that doctors cannot treat a patient knowing that treatment will cause harm to the patient. However, doctors may also be liable for negligence related to patient treatment.

Negligence occurs when a doctor must act but fails because of incompetence, lack of knowledge, miscommunication, or misconduct. To establish negligence, a patient must show:

  • The doctor had a duty to act.
  • The doctor breached their duty to act.
  • The breach of the doctor’s duty to act led caused the patient to experience harm.
  • The injury caused by the doctor led to the patient experiencing financial harm.

In almost all negligence cases, establishing a doctor’s duty is relatively simple because of the stringed education requirements and standards of care doctors need to practice medicine. The difficulty is proving the doctor’s actions were the cause of the injury that led to the patient’s financial harm.

Common Types of Gastric Bypass Malpractice

Gastric bypass does not usually result in severe, life-changing complications caused by surgeon error because the procedure is relatively standard. However, doctors make mistakes causing patients to experience harmful effects that may be permeant. Below are common mistakes made by doctors when performing gastric bypass surgery.

Leakage of Fluid

In some instances, fluid can leak internally from the stomach, small intestines, or sutures that are used close open wounds. Although small amounts of discharge may be expected, massive leaking is not. Patients who experience fluid leakage should contact their doctor immediately for assistance. Fluid leakage could indicate that the surgeon failed to properly connect vital organs or address wounds, resulting in harm to the patient.

Eligibility for Surgery

Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for this type of surgery. For example, a patient may be ineligible for surgery if they have a pre-existing condition or have a family history of a specific illness like heart or lung disease. Furthermore, some patients may show signs of failure to comply with strict diet and exercise regimens, which will result in weight gain.

Common malpractice claims include doctors failing to inform patients of medical complications and risks associated with gastric bypass surgery. Just because a patient experiences a complication does not necessarily mean they have an actionable claim for damage against their surgeon. Instead, the patient must show that the surgeon or healthcare provider failed to inform the patient of the risks associated with the surgery.

Poor Recovery Instructions

Many malpractice claims arise from a doctor’s failure to provide adequate instructions for post-surgical recovery or address issues raised by a patient. Invasive surgical procedures can cause numerous risks and complications, which patients will be informed of ahead of time. However, doctors get sued by patients for failing to treat complications arising out of surgeries.

Medical Negligence

In some uncommon instances, a doctor or healthcare facility may fail to uphold specific standards of care regarding procedures needed to conduct a surgery, proper training for surgical staff, or strict sanitation requirements, which may all be forms of negligence.

Contact a Graves McClain Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has recently undergone gastric bypass surgery and have experienced a complication that you believe is caused by a surgical error. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced Graves McClain Oklahoma Gastric Bypass attorney can help a patient investigate injuries caused by the procedure, craft a legal strategy, pursue settlement discussions, and negotiate payment of medical claims with adverse parties, including insurance companies. Contact our office today by visiting our website or calling us at 919-359-6600.

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