Medical Malpractice with Bariatric Surgery

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Gastric Bypass Surgery Malpractice Attorneys in New Jersey

File a Lawsuit for Injuries from Bariatric Surgery Malpractice in New Jersey

With nearly one-third of the adult population in the United States overweight or obese, it is no wonder that gastric bypass surgery is a standard procedure in hospitals across the nation. Individuals seeking weight loss undergo gastric bypass surgery, or stomach stapling, to help them with weight management that may otherwise be negatively impacting their health. The surgery involves reducing the stomach and connecting what remains to the intestines. The result is a smaller stomach and digestive system that can only handle smaller amounts of food, leading to gradual weight loss. 

In 2022, surgeons performed 243,000 bariatric surgeries, or weight loss procedures, which medical professionals tout as beneficial in fighting obesity and its complications. In reality, heart disease risk decreases by 83% after bariatric surgery. The procedure is routine and primarily successful in weight loss. However, even a routine surgery can lead to unfortunate results when a surgeon, a hospital, or another healthcare professional is negligent. 

Legal Options when Gastric Bypass Goes Wrong

Though all surgeries come with risks and potential complications, those exacerbated or caused by medical malpractice may form the basis for a malpractice lawsuit. The foundation of medical malpractice is the medical professional’s negligence, which is an inexcusable error involving failure to meet the acceptable standard of care. Complications may occur despite the surgeon and their team doing everything right according to the medical standards applied under the circumstances. So, not all complications result from medical malpractice. This is why investigation by a seasoned surgical malpractice attorney is integral to identify cause for a legal claim.

As soon as you suspect your post-surgery complications following bariatric surgery resulted from negligence, contact Fronzuto Law Group to discuss what happened in your case. Our law firm is prepared to meticulously investigate and find out if you have grounds to seek compensation through legal action. We frequently represent victims of surgical malpractice throughout New Jersey, including those who suffer injuries as a result of gastric bypass mistakes and substandard care before, during, or after weight loss surgery. Call 973-435-4551 for a free review of your case or request a free consultation with our attorneys by filling out our form today.

Have Your or a Loved One Been Injured by Gastric Bypass Surgery Malpractice? Request a Free Review of Your Case.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice with Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Physicians who do not treat postoperative complications may be responsible for a patient’s financial and non-financial losses due to inadequate care. In other cases, the surgery fails or causes complications because the physician performed metabolic or bariatric surgery on a patient who is medically unqualified to have the surgery. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery sets forth the criteria for bariatric surgery patients. Most hospitals accept patients whose body mass index (BMI) is 30 or over. So, those who are not obese may not qualify for surgery, or those with a BMI far over 30 may not be good candidates for the surgery. The surgical devices may not accommodate someone severely obese. 

In addition, some populations are more likely to experience complications from the surgery, so it may be contraindicated based on their history or current health conditions. For instance, diabetics and patients with other conditions are susceptible to gastric leaks; anastomosis occurs when the intestines and stomach connect and the site of leaks. As such, a surgeon who operates on a patient with renal issues, liver cirrhosis, or malnutrition may be found negligent in performing the surgery or failing to check the patient’s chart for conditions that make leaks more likely. 

Also, a more general form of surgical malpractice is leaving medical instruments inside of a person’s body. Though the incidence of a retained surgical body (RSB) ranges from rare or never to 1 out of 1,000 surgeries, depending on the healthcare facility, forgotten surgical equipment or other foreign objects, such as sponges, left over from surgery in the patient is an inexcusable mistake that can leave someone very sick with pain, fever, and post-surgical infection.  

Other medical malpractice sources include failing to advise patients of severe side effects of the surgery, failing to diagnose or treat complications, failing to obtain consent for the surgery, or failing to properly supervise or instruct other surgical team members. Medication errors and shoddy surgery practices are two additional forms of negligence.  

Top Injuries and Complications of Bariatric Surgery

A patient may suspect wrongdoing when they experience complications post-surgery, such as:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Ulcers
  • Peritonitis
  • Gastric leakage
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Hernia at the incision entry point
  • Incompletely digested foods

These may occur after the surgery and need prompt treatment. 

The Most Dangerous Types of Gastric Bypass Complications

Gastric Leaks are among the most dangerous complications for a bariatric surgery patient. A leak can cause bleeding and infection without treatment. Delayed treatment increases the likelihood of life-threatening conditions and complications, such as sepsis, which can be fatal. A patient may develop ulcers, stricture (narrowing) at the site of the leakage, as well as scarring. Another danger is the formation of a fistula, which is a drainage channel in the skin requiring further surgery to drain it. Pneumonia is another severe complication that develops when the digestive contents escape into the bloodstream and enter the lungs. 

Warning Signals of a Potential Problem after Bariatric Surgery

A person who has recently undergone bariatric surgery may experience several symptoms that indicate a leak, such as night sweats, racing heart, fever, respiratory problems, chest or left arm pain, nausea, and dizziness. The most common and persistent symptom is abdominal pain. However, many other post-surgical symptoms may indicate a problem. Individuals with severe pain, blood clots, gallstones, gastritis, kidney stones, and nutritional deficiencies after weight loss surgery may become aware that something may have gone wrong with the surgery. 

Obtaining Damages for Injuries Caused by Gastric Bypass Surgery Malpractice in New Jersey

As a gastric bypass surgery malpractice victim, you are entitled to an award of damages to compensate you for losses resulting from a healthcare professional’s or facility’s negligence. For example, if you suffered complications from a gastric leak that happened because a doctor did not perform the surgery correctly, you may be entitled to the costs of further corrective surgery or surgeries and the medical expenses incurred throughout your rehabilitative journey. You also may recoup your income losses past and present due to the harm that you experienced as a result of medical negligence with a bariatric surgical procedure.

In New Jersey, medical malpractice damages include compensatory and punitive damages. The former consists of all past and ongoing medical expenses, past and ongoing income losses, enjoyment of life loss, and pain and suffering. A fatality may add the family member’s lost companionship and income from the deceased in a wrongful death lawsuit. New Jersey does not cap compensatory damages but does cap punitive damages in medical malpractice actions. Punitive damages are deemed necessary to punish a defendant who acted intentionally or recklessly in causing a patient harm. This form of damages is reserved for cases warranting them, and punitive damages are relatively less common than the un-capped form of damages, compensatory, which includes non-economic and economic losses.  

Contact the NJ Weight Loss Surgery Malpractice Lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group for Guidance on Your Gastric Bypass Lawsuit

It would be best to discuss your suspicion that something went wrong with your bariatric surgery with a medical malpractice attorney, such as those on our team at Fronzuto Law Group. Given our experience handling cases like yours and other medical malpractice actions for New Jersey victims, we can review your case to detect medical errors. Our knowledge of the law and how to investigate medical malpractice claims makes us uniquely equipped to understand signs of negligence. Importantly, our surgery injury lawyers will confirm malpractice suspicions with a medical expert, which is necessary when filing a medical malpractice claim through the courts in New Jersey.

While confirmation of a valid claim is valuable, our medical malpractice lawyers do much more. We investigate your claim and communicate with defendants, lawyers, insurance adjusters, and other relevant parties. Our legal team can be instrumental in preparing, negotiating, and trying your case.

If you have experienced complications or injuries due to suspected gastric bypass surgery malpractice in New Jersey, contact our medical malpractice lawyers today for a free consultation. Call 973-435-4551 to learn more.

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