Gastric Band Solicitors - Medical Negligence Compensation Claim Lawyers
Whilst weight loss surgery has been carried out in Australia for decades, there has been an exponential rise over recent years caused by soaring obesity rates. It is estimated that almost a third of all Australian adults are now classified as obese with rates increasing yearly and demand for weight loss surgery including gastric bypass, lap band and gastric band procedures rising even faster. Whilst most surgery is carried out competently there are concerns about increasing rates of medical negligence involving bariatric surgery which is exacerbated by the fact that administration of anaesthetic to an obese person is not without danger in itself coupled with the fact that many patients are elderly. Insurers have indicated that whilst fatalities are rare there are serious concerns about after-care and wound infection rates with a requirement for many repeat surgical procedures caused by slippage in situ of a lap band or gastric band. If you have had a less than satisfactory experience it may be to your advantage to speak with a medical negligence solicitor.
Our gastric band solicitors deal with injury compensation claims for negligent surgery or aftercare. They are able to offer no win no fee arrangements to those who have suffered from negligent weight loss surgery. If you would like advice at no cost and without obligation from a gastric band solicitor just email our lawyers offices, complete the contact form or use the helpline to speak to Australian lawyers who specialise in medical negligence cases.
Our medical negligence solicitors have offices situated in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, and Sydney. Do yourself justice - give us a call.
In common with most of the developed world Australia is suffering from an epidemic of obesity with thousands of surgical operations involving life saving weight loss surgery being carried out every year throughout the country. The most common surgical procedure involves reduction of the capacity of the stomach by fitting a lap band or gastric band however this technique carries with it serious risk of post-operative infection, leakage and technical difficulties in maintaining placement of these biomedical devices which in some cases is due to medical negligence. Furthermore bariatric surgery of this type often involves administering anaesthetic to patients who are obese and therefore at high risk which is compounded by the age of many of the patients. If you believe that your problem has arisen as a result of medical negligence, contact our gastric band solicitors for advice at no cost.
Negligent Weight Loss Surgery Procedures
It is estimated that there are almost 4,000 instances of surgical weight loss procedures carried out in Australia every year which includes gastric bypass surgery and fitting of lap bands or gastric bands. Reasons for the increase of weight loss surgery medical negligence compensation claims include inadequate surgical technique, negligent aftercare and failure by doctors to fully explain the risks of the operation. The rates of medical negligence claims carried out by solicitors for problems associated with gastric bypass surgery and lap band or gastric band surgery is not expected to decline in the near future due the increasing demand and the relative lack of skill and expertise of doctors who are new to this particular area of surgery. Whilst medical negligence rates will decrease as skill increases, the ever increasing number of weight loss procedures carried out each year will ensure that there is no overall drop in the number of solicitors compensation claims associated with bariatric surgery.
What is Lap Band & Gastric Band Surgery?
In the case of lap band surgery & gastric band surgery, a physical restriction reduces stomach capacity which usually involves placing a restrictive silicone band around the upper part of the stomach that can be adjusted by addition or removal of saline through an accessible port placed under the skin.
What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Weight loss surgery includes gastric bypass surgery which works by making the stomach smaller and by shortening the digestive system thereby making it less efficient for absorbing nutrients. Surgery involves making the stomach smaller by dissection and reconnecting the stomach to a lower part of the intestine thereby reducing the efficiency of absorption of nutrients. This procedure is so effective that many patients need to supplement their diet with additional vitamins.
The Law of Negligence in Australia
The fact that there is a complication does not of itself indicate medical negligence. For a finding of medical negligence it must be shown that surgical procedure was carried out with a lack of skill and care. The fact that a well documented complication arises does not of itself indicate negligence. The court in Australia does not judge a doctors competence by reference to the generally accepted practices of his profession but whether it conforms to the standard of reasonable care demanded by the law which means that questions of competence are decided by the court as opposed to doctors.
Failure to Disclose Risk & Informed Decisions
The risk involved in weight loss surgery is quite high in comparison to many other surgical procedures with a mortality rate of 1 in 500. In addition there is a total risk of complications occurring of about 40% within 6 months of the operation with serious infection accounting for about 6% of all cases. As in all surgical procedures the risk falls as the surgeon’s skill, expertise and experience increases. It is incumbent on a surgeon to fully explain all risks associated with any weight loss surgery prior to any surgical intervention and the mere fact that a surgeon does not fully discharge this responsibility is in itself an act of medical negligence and leaves the door open for a solicitors compensation claim for almost any subsequent complication that may arise whether or not the surgical procedure was in itself negligent.
Post Operative Infections
All weight loss and bariatric surgery carries risk however the most serious risk and the one most likely to give rise to a medical negligence compensation claim relates to inadequate post operative care, in particular failure to observe or control post operative infection which at worst carries a risk of death with less serious consequences including unsightly scarring.
Lap Band & Gastric Band Slippage
The placement of a lap band or gastric band is critical for successful weight loss. Failure to properly carry out the initial surgical procedure may mean that the band leaks necessitating a repeat of the surgery. It may be possible to claim compensation for medical negligence if the initial procedure was carried out improperly and had to be repeated.
Doctors Skill & Expertise
As in all surgical procedures the skill and expertise of the surgeon is paramount to a successful outcome. If a doctor fails to use reasonable skill and care whilst carrying out the procedure it may be possible to take action for medical negligence if there is an unfortunate outcome. In most cases, the more experience a surgeon has in a particular procedure the less chance there is of medical negligence. It is advisable to make enquiries about the surgeons experience prior to allowing any surgical procedure to be carried out.
Gastric band medical negligence cases fall into several categories :-
Doctors are required to fully explain bariatric surgery and to inform patients of the the risks associated with the proposed procedures. In addition doctors should advise on alternative less radical procedures to weight loss surgery thereby giving the patient the opportunity to make an informed decision on whether or not to submit to surgery. Failure to provide sufficient information about gastric band surgery in order to allow the patient to give informed consent to the operation is of itself medical negligence. Any problems which arise can result in a successful claim by a gastric band solicitor for medical negligence injury compensation.
In common with almost all other surgical operations a doctor can lack the required skill or expertise in a particular procedure, may not have had enough or any training and may make a simple mistake including perforation whilst fitting a lap band. In all cases if the operation is a failure, it may be possible for a gastric band solicitor to make a claim for compensation for medical negligence.
The placement and setting up of the gastric band is critical and failure to deal with the technicalities of the operation efficiently may mean that the gastric band leaks and is ineffective which may require further surgery to perfect. Clearly if this problem occurs with a lap band or gastric band it is likely to result in a medical negligence compensation claim.
Probably the greatest of all of the bariatric surgery problems, precipitating most cases of gastric band medical negligence is caused by inadequate after-care resulting in post operative infection. This may be due to a patients failure to carry out instructions however it is most likely to result from failure by medical staff to identify and adequately deal with the initial stages of infection. All to often the doctor carrying out the surgery passes this part of the recovery process on to other less qualified staff when it would be considerably more sensible for them to have a hands on approach until full recovery is achieved.
Gastric Band Medical Negligence Solicitors
Our gastric band solicitors have detailed experience in dealing with gastric bypass, gastric band and lap band surgery compensation claims. Our solicitors are able to offer no win no fee to qualifying applicants who have suffered from the negative effects of weight loss surgery. If you would like advice without obligation from a qualified medical negligence just email, complete the contact form of use the helpline.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here