Sepsis Following Weight Loss Surgery
The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults suffer from obesity. High blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and stroke are all life threatening conditions linked to obesity and are some of the leading causes of preventable death.
There are various surgical procedures that doctors perform in order for patients to achieve desired weight loss and avoid obesity-related complications. These procedures are referred to as bariatric surgery and include a variety of surgical approaches, including gastric banding, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. All bariatric surgeries shrink the size of the patient’s stomach in order to limit the amount of food that can be consumed. During banding procedures, (laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, or LAGB), a flexible band is placed around the upper portion of the patient’s stomach wall and tightened, to restrict the size of the stomach. During gastric bypass surgery, part of the stomach may be removed (gastrectomy) and the surgeon will also re-route, or bypass, part of the digestive system so that a much smaller amount of nutrients from food are absorbed by the intestinal tract.
Unfortunately, sometimes bariatric surgery brings with it consequences in the form of medical mistakes. There have been many instances where patients have suffered from an anastomotic leak (AL) during gastric bypass surgery, when fluid from within the gastrointestinal tract leaks into the sterile abdominal cavity. As a result, these patients suffer from severe peritonitis (a deadly infection in the abdomen) and sepsis. Early diagnosis of an AL is crucial for the prevention of life-threatening complications. In countless instances, medical providers have failed to diagnose this complication at the time of surgery.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
• Hypothermia (lower than normal body temperature)
• Heart rate >90 beats per minute (bpm)
• Fast respiratory rate
• Altered mental status (confusion/coma)
• Edema (swelling)
• High blood glucose without diabetes
If you or a loved one feel you are the victim of a medical mistake, contact The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (800-403-7259). When you call, you will speak with an experienced Baltimore Medical Malpractice attorney absolutely FREE.
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