I have noticed a few stories in the press recently about gastric band / bypass surgery, also known as bariatric surgery.
The first story concerns a man who lost 13 stone (he went from 31 to 18 stone) after gastric bypass surgery. He is reportedly furious that the NHS has denied him a second operation to remove three and a half stone of excess skin.
The second headline reports that Dr David Haslam, head of the National Obesity Forum, considers that overweight children should be given gastric bypass surgery on the NHS to help them manage their weight. It is important to clarify the distinction between gastric banding and gastric bypass surgery. Gastric band surgery involves using a band to reduce the size of the stomach so a smaller amount of food is required to make you feel full. Gastric bypass surgery involves re-routing the digestive system past most of the stomach so the person digests less food and it takes much less food to make you feel full.
As to whether such surgery should be offered on the NHS is a contentious issue. However, with more people seeking to undergo gastric banding or gastric bypass surgery both on the NHS and privately, I suspect we may begin to take an increasing number of calls from clients who believe their operation to have been performed below an appropriate standard.
This is very specialized surgery which should be performed by a bariatric surgeon. However, the worry is that many general, non-specialist surgeons may ‘cash in’ on the trend and start to offer this surgery without having been appropriately trained.
I have already dealt with one case where my client had an operation to convert her gastric band to a gastric bypass. Following this procedure, she was left with a retained gastric band port which subsequently had to be removed under local anaesthetic. This port had been de-anchored during the surgery. As a result, my client therefore had a port attached to a thin, sharp 7cm long piece of tube retained inside her which was free-moving and could have caused serious damage to her internal organs.
Contact a member of the Clinical Negligence team if you believe you may have undergone substandard surgery of this, or any kind.
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