When gastric bypass surgery began to grow in popularity during the 1990s, it did not do so quietly. From 1990 to 2000, the annual rate of bariatric surgeries in the United States increased 600 percent, and has continued to rise.
The popularity of gastric bypass surgery leads many patients to ignore its dangers. But as with any surgical procedure, gastric bypass and other forms of bariatric surgery carry risks.
First, consider the procedure. During gastric bypass surgery, a doctor loops your bowel, effectively bypassing most of your stomach. After the surgery, the patient feels satisfied by much smaller intakes of food.
But injuries can occur at several points in the process.
- The stomach may leak into the abdominal cavity, leading to infection and blood clots.
- Excessive bleeding often results.
- Breathing problems and leaks in the gastrointestinal system may also occur.
The extreme popularity of the procedure also leads to a different sort of problem. Countless inexperienced doctors and anesthesiologists have fallen prey to a Gold Rush mentality and started performing the procedure with inadequate training.
And since the majority of gastric bypass surgeries occur in an outpatient environment, there are often insufficient emergency equipment and resources on hand if a medical emergency occurs. A patient who suffers such an emergency often must wait for an ambulance to arrive and provide transport to a hospital. During this wait, the condition of the patient may deteriorate rapidly. Many patients have died from gastric bypass mishaps over the past few decades.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.