Medical Malpractice

New York Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Malpractice

March 22, 2024
New York Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Malpractice

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Earlier this week, a New York Times investigation revealed that Bellevue Hospital has been performing unsafe bariatric surgeries since 2008, wrongfully putting over 17,000 patients at risk of developing serious medical injuries.

If you or a loved one have received bariatric surgery at Bellevue Hospital in New York, contact a medical malpractice attorney at the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm today. We can help you receive compensation for your injuries and hold the responsible parties accountable.

What Is a Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery?

Also known as a gastric bypass or weight loss surgery, bariatric surgeries have significantly increased in popularity over the last few years. Bariatric surgery is performed when a patient experiences significant health problems due to their weight and they have not been able to manage their weight using diet or exercise.

Factors Influencing Bariatric Surgery Eligibility

Factors Influencing Bariatric Surgery Eligibility

Although weight loss surgery can alleviate weight-related health problems, there are strict guidelines in place to ensure that only qualified surgery candidates receive the surgery. Surgery candidates must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, and they must experience severe health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or severe sleep apnea.

There are several other factors that influence your eligibility for a bariatric procedure, and they can be broadly categorized as:

  • Past Attempts at Weight Loss: Documented, supervised attempts at non-surgical weight loss for at least six months (with limited success) are often required.
  • Overall Health: Your general health is assessed to make sure you can safely undergo surgery and tolerate the required dietary and lifestyle changes.
  • Motivation and Readiness: You must demonstrate a strong understanding of the surgery and its risks and benefits, and you must commit to adhering to the necessary lifestyle changes post-surgery.
  • Mental Health: Doctors may require any current mental health conditions like depression or active eating disorders to be stabilized before they consider surgery.
  • Pregnancy: Weight loss surgery is generally not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • Smoking: Quitting smoking before surgery is usually required due to the increased surgical risks for smokers.

After receiving the surgery, patients must also follow a strict regimen to ensure that their body properly adjusts to the surgery.

It is your surgeon's reasonability to ensure that you meet these necessary operation qualifications so that you are not wrongfully put at risk of developing a serious injury. Unfortunately, surgeons have become increasingly lenient and are not properly screening patients, and as a result, they have operated on unqualified candidates.

When Can You Sue for Gastric Bypass Surgery Malpractice?

You can sue for medical malpractice in various scenarios, including:

  • Objects Being Left Inside Your Body: This might include clamps, sponges, or other instruments, leading to pain, infection, and additional procedures.
  • Operating Mistakes: Improper technique can cause serious harm and require corrective surgery.
  • Procedural Missteps: Choosing an unapproved surgical method or failing to follow established guidelines can lead to increased risks.
  • Medication & Anesthesia Mishaps: Errors in medication or anesthesia can trigger allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, or even a coma.
  • Failure to Consider Allergies or Pre-Existing Conditions: Failing to consider your medical history can lead to severe complications with anesthesia or other medications.
  • Vital Sign Neglect: Inadequate monitoring after surgery can delay the detection of internal bleeding, infections, or other critical issues.
  • Missed or Delayed Diagnosis of Complications: Failure to promptly diagnose and treat problems like leaks and blood clots can worsen your condition and require further intervention.

Remember that this list is not exhaustive. If you experience any other concerns or suspect that negligence contributed to your post-surgical pain and discomfort, it may be grounds for a lawsuit.

Bellevue Hospital Bariatric Surgery Malpractice

In 2008, Bellevue Hospital began doing Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery under the guidance of Dr. Manish Parikh. However, unlike most bariatric surgery departments, Bellevue Hospital agreed to compensate participating surgeons based on volume, paying some surgeons up to $11,000 per surgery performed. As a result, surgeons had a financial incentive to perform as many surgeries as possible, and the New York Times even reported that surgeons would race each other each day.

Bariatric weight loss surgeons at Bellevue Hospital began adopting negligent and dangerous practices including but not limited to:

  • Operating on patients whose BMI was below the recommended threshold.
  • Failing to verify if patients were pregnant or had underlying medical conditions.
  • Failing to adhere to national bariatric guidelines.
  • Performing surgery after just one informational session.
  • Enlisting unlicensed technicians to assist.
  • Reduced medication doses to get patients out of operating rooms faster.

As a result of Bellevue's careless practices, patients have wrongfully developed infections, ulcers, hernias, have been put into a coma, and there has been at least one death.

Additionally, in order to increase volume, negligent Bellevue Hospital surgeons have wrongfully operated on people incarcerated at Rikers Island, without verifying that they would be able to follow the strict post-operative diet and exercise regimen.

How to Recognize Gastric Bypass Procedure Malpractice

While some discomfort after gastric bypass surgery is typical, specific red flags can indicate possible medical negligence. Here are some key concerns to be aware of:

  • Unexpected or Persistent Pain: Severe, unexplained pain beyond the expected amount could signal surgical errors, internal injury, or infections.
  • Bleeding Beyond Typical Post-Surgical Levels: Heavy or prolonged bleeding could point to internal tears, improper technique, or missed complications.
  • Signs of Infection: Fever, chills, redness, or drainage around incisions might indicate inadequate sterilization or poor post-surgical care.
  • Digestive Issues Beyond Expected Adjustments: Severe vomiting, malnutrition, or an inability to tolerate certain foods could imply surgical errors like leaks, strictures, or nutritional deficiencies.

If you notice these symptoms, there are several steps you should take.

What to Do If You Suspect Bariatric Surgery Medical Malpractice

What to Do If You Suspect Bariatric Surgery Medical Malpractice

If you suspect that you or a loved one has been a victim of weight loss surgery malpractice, you should take several steps to protect your rights and well-being, including:

  • Seek a Second Medical Opinion: Consulting another medical professional to assess your condition and diagnose any complications is critical for your health and medical malpractice case.
  • Document Your Experience and Symptoms: Keeping a detailed record of symptoms, treatments, and communications with healthcare providers is essential for any further legal actions.
  • Preserve Medical Records and Evidence: Requesting copies of all records related to the surgery is crucial for understanding what went wrong and proving malpractice.
  • Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney: Consulting with a medical malpractice attorney who has experience in gastric bypass surgery cases is important for evaluating your situation and guiding you through the legal process.
  • Follow Legal Advice and Timelines: Adhering to legal deadlines and advice is essential to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
  • Consider Emotional and Psychological Support: Seeking support from support groups or mental health professionals is important for coping with the emotional and psychological distress that can result from malpractice.

Taking these steps empowers you to seek answers, justice, and potential compensation for your suffering.

How a Lawyer Can Help After Bariatric Medical Malpractice?

If you suspect medical malpractice may be to blame for your discomfort, understanding your options can empower you to seek answers and potential compensation. This is where a qualified medical malpractice attorney can be your essential guide.

To assist you, they can perform the following steps:

  • Assessing Your Case: Your attorney will review your medical records to determine whether negligence contributed to your suffering.
  • Gathering Evidence: Attorneys have the resources to collect crucial evidence and build a strong medical malpractice claim on your behalf.
  • Understanding Complexities: An attorney can navigate the complexities of medical malpractice law, making sure your rights are protected throughout the process.
  • Negotiating & Presenting Your Case: Your attorney will aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve — going to trial if necessary.

Consulting with a malpractice firm as soon as possible allows your attorney to investigate your situation thoroughly and build a stronger case on your behalf. So don't hesitate to seek legal guidance if you suspect that gastric bypass malpractice has impacted your health and well-being.

Did Medical Mistakes Leave You Worse than Before?

If you or a loved one are facing complications after bariatric surgery, contact an experienced New York Medical Malpractice attorney at the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm. We'll investigate diligently to secure the compensation you deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Contact a New York Bariatric Surgery Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one underwent bariatric surgery at Bellevue Hospital and suffered complications or injuries that were not properly addressed, we want to help. Our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys is here to investigate your case. With over 40 years of experience in medical malpractice, we will ensure that you and your loved ones get justice.

Call for a free consultation today.

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