Bariatric weight loss surgery has helped people lose weight, thereby improving their health and wellness. This type of surgery includes several different procedures that change the anatomy of the digestive system in order to limit the amount of food the patient will be able to eat and digest. The types of surgeries include restrictive surgeries and malabsorptive/restrictive (by-pass) surgery. The result of restrictive surgeries is that the size of the stomach is physically restricted or reduced and digestion is slowed. Malabsorptive/restrictive surgeries are more invasive, segmenting the small intestine to make it more difficult for the body to absorb calories, in addition to restricting the size of the stomach.
However, this type of procedure still carries risk. If performed incorrectly, illness, hospitalization, and even death can result. The risks and complications include:
- the failure to provide appropriate vitamin and nutritional support following the surgery,
- failure to quickly diagnose a perforation or leakage of the bowel connections after the surgery, and
- failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism.
After a bariatric surgery, the patient can have nutritional deficiencies that could lead to severe health complications. These deficiencies can result from the reduced food intake and the inability of the body to absorb nutrients after surgery or the post-operative nutritional supplementation is inadequate. Inadequate nutritional support can result in peripheral or polyneuropathy, Wernicke’s encephalopathy/Korsadoff Syndrome, or other nutritional deficiencies.
Complications can arise when a surgeon refastens the bowel in its new location during a gastric bypass surgery. If the surgical connection fails to form a complete seal, the bowel can lead fluid and infections or abscess can result. Complications resulting from this can include peritonitis and sepsis, which can be potentially fatal.
The leading cause of death after a bariatric surgery is pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms occur when a blood clot in the leg breaks off and travels to the lungs. This can occur at any time, however they are more likely to occur in overweight patients and even more likely during surgery or soon after. Smoking, family history, or sleep apnea may place a patient at higher risk of developing a pulmonary embolism.
Surgeons and other medical staff have a responsibility to educate patients and the family on the symptoms of postoperative complications. Recognizing complications early is crucial. If you or a loved one has suffered a complication due to medical negligence after undergoing bariatric surgery, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
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