How can bariatric surgery go wrong?
As with all types of surgery, bariatric surgery can go wrong in a number of ways. It is therefore imperative that to minimise the risk of failed bariatric surgery, the most appropriate option is chosen for the patient. Failure to do so, can lead to a life of severe and ongoing symptoms.
When patients attend a weight loss surgery specialist, the expert will decide; firstly whether the surgery is the correct option for the patient and; what type of weight loss surgery would be most suited. It is important that surgeons also discuss the risks and benefits of each type of surgery with the patient so they are in a position to make an informed choice.
Once you have decided to go ahead with surgery, it is important that you are assisted and reviewed by a number of other medical professionals. You should be offered ongoing psychological support, so that you are aware and committed to the necessary change in lifestyle. You should also receive support from a dietitian, who will assist in providing pre and post surgery dietary advice. You should also be reviewed by an endocrinologist (someone who specialises in hormones) and respiratory physician.
Our specialist team have assisted a number of clients who have not been provided with the relevant information or have not been reviewed by other medical specialists (as identified above).
If you feel that you have undergone a weight loss procedure which was not suitable, or feel that you did not have the necessary support or information, then contact our team of expert weight loss surgery solicitors to discuss a compensation claim for negligent bariatric surgery.
Even with the correct procedures, complications in weight loss surgery can still occur.
Not all complications are due to negligent surgery which is why it is important to seek specialist legal advice to investigate your own personal circumstances. Some examples are as follows:
- If the gastric band is placed in the wrong part of the stomach or at the wrong angle. This represents substandard treatment and you may be able to claim. If this occurs, it can lead to restricted food input or complete blockage can result. Emergency corrective surgery is then required and a delay in performing this can be negligent in itself.
- Intra-gastric balloons leave patients prone to heartburn and regurgitation as well as post-patient pain, nausea and complete obstruction of food passing through the stomach.
- Gastric bands are not without their complications and, indeed, these complications are far more common than bypass complications. Bands commonly leak, slip or erode into the stomach, need regular adjustments and are prone to infection. A slipped band is a medical emergency and if not removed quickly will lead to stomach necrosis, sepsis and even death.
- Sleeve gastrectomies have a risk of strictures (which are narrowings) in the part of the stomach that remains and a tendency for reflux/heartburn. Also there is a tendency to regain weight after 2-3 years which is a problem given the procedure cannot be reversed.
- Failure to staple the joins properly in gastric bypass surgery can cause a leak. Such a failure represents substandard treatment and you may be able to claim compensation if this has happened. It should be noted though that leaks can be a recognised complication so every case should be investigated on its own facts.
- A fairly common complication of a gastric bypass is diarrhoea because less water is also absorbed back into the body. The BPD (Biliopancreatic Diversion) and duodenal switch in particular have a greater risk of diarrhoea as more of the small bowel is bypassed than the roux-en-Y although peptic ulcers at the join between the stomach pouch and the small bowel are a complication of the Roux-en-Y but not the BPD or duodenal switch.
- Failure to promptly diagnose a leak or an ulcer following gastric bypass surgery can also give rise to a medical negligence claim.
- As bypass procedures restrict the size of the stomach, there is a risk that ingested food goes through the stomach too quickly and enters the small bowel still largely undigested. This results in the small bowel expanding too quickly making the person feel extremely unwell after eating. This is known as Dumping Syndrome. Symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, sweating and diarrhoea.
- Patients who have had a gastric bypass generally need life long vitamin and nutrient supplementation as the procedure works partly through malabsorption – not only is less fat absorbed from food but also protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. If patients don’t take supplements they will generally start suffering from fatigue, poor skin, hair and nails.
- A very particular and specialised diet is required after undergoing any weight loss procedure, which includes a variety of different vitamins and minerals. A failure to provide patients with an appropriate diet plan and nutritional care, could lead to problems such as thiamine (a water soluble vitamin) deficiency and/or muscle loss. Many vitamin and mineral deficiencies develop slowly and so often go unnoticed until the deficiency is severe, therefore it is imperative that they are continually monitored as if they are left untreated or inadequately treated, patients could suffer from a range of permanent symptoms.
If you have any questions regarding a case of negligent weight loss surgery then do not hesitate to contact our team of specialist bariatric solicitors.
“A premier Somerset firm with experience of a broad range of high-value matters, including catastrophic birth injury claims. Routinely engaged on cerebral palsy cases and spinal injury claims, and offers expertise in weight loss surgery and dental negligence matters. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “Withy King were caring and understood us. They listened to our concerns and needs, and helped in whichever way they could.” “They are incredibly organised, easy to approach and they have a very supportive team who are incredibly sympathetic.” Notable practitioners: Head of department Simon Elliman (Band 1) oversees an array of complex claims, including cerebral palsy and spinal injury matters. In addition he acts on dental negligence cases. Sources say: “He is very able and he inspires confidence through calmness.” Market observers consider Paul Rumley (Band 1) “a very approachable lawyer with vast experience on high-value and complex cases.” He handles a range of matters including birth injury claims, fatal accidents and delay in diagnosis of cancer claims.” Chambers 2017 Somerset
“Highly commended firm with an excellent reputation across a broad spectrum of clinical negligence matters. Routinely acts on catastrophic cases including brain and spinal injury claims. Also noted for its handling of matters arising from amputation, delayed diagnosis and weight loss surgery. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They’ve been amazing. They spoke to me on a level I understood. They are very understanding and compassionate and they advised me well the whole way through.” Notable practitioners: Head of department Richard Coleman (Band 1) offers vast experience of complex claims involving cerebral palsy, spinal injury and bariatric surgery, among other matters. “He is very good at negotiating settlements in difficult cases” and “doesn’t lose sight of the human aspect of it all,” assert sources.” Chambers 2017 Oxford and surrounds
“Royds Withy King is a ‘leading firm’ for catastrophic birth injury cases. Key figures include practice head Simon Elliman, who handles dental negligence, cerebral palsy and spinal injury claims; ‘first-rate solicitor’ Paul Rumley; and Kerstin Kubiak, who stands out for her ‘exceptional analysis’.” Legal 500 2016 South West
“The ‘knowledgeable, dependable and competent’ team at Royds Withy King is led by ‘astute strategist’ Richard Coleman and includes Tracy Norris-Evans, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and committed to her clients’.” Legal 500 2016 South East