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The consequences of weight-loss surgery gone wrong

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, has become extremely popular in recent years. Operations such as the gastric bypass and laparoscopic banding have been advertised as safe and effective for patients struggling with obesity.

Unfortunately, there are serious risks often downplayed during a surgeon's consultation with the patient. Sometimes, avoidable medical errors leave patients disabled for life, as one man recently learned.

According to his malpractice lawsuit, the 275-pound man consulted a surgeon, Dr. Kim, about gastric bypass surgery. The patient decided to proceed and scheduled an operation. However, Dr. Kim had colleagues perform the surgery and they botched it, forever changing the patient's life.

One of the surgeons nicked the patient's artery, prompting a life-or-death situation. The surgeons got the blood loss under control by clamping it and giving him a transfusion, but they closed off his aorta. That greatly reduced his circulation, essentially causing his legs to die.

Two days later, he awoke from what was supposed to be a routine gastric bypass to find that his legs were amputated.

This horrible story has a couple takeaways:

  • Every operation has risks, so you must carefully consider the pros and cons with elective surgery.
  • Do your research on doctors. Choose an experienced and reputable surgeon and don't let the hospital or clinic bring in a "substitute" surgeon.

Do your homework and remember that you, as a patient, have the right to say no if a shady situation arises.

Source: KAGS, "Man files lawsuit claiming gastric sleeve surgery cost him his legs," Jason Wheeler, Nov. 18, 2014

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