Investigation under way into incorrect placement of gastric band Image

Investigation under way into incorrect placement of gastric band

Posted: 24/03/2015

The Penningtons Manches cosmetic surgery claims team is currently investigating the case of a bariatric surgery patient who suffered aggressive vomiting following her surgery and subsequently discovered that her gastric band had been incorrectly placed.

The patient had been referred for a private consultation to consider her options following years of struggling with her weight. She subsequently decided to have gastric band surgery.  Prior to going ahead with the surgery, she was advised on a number of risks which included infection, bleeding, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), failure to place band correctly, failure to lose weight, visceral injury, chest complications, port site complications and band slip/inflation/leaks.  As with any type of surgery, there are known and recognised complications that can occur non-negligently following gastric banding procedure.

After being admitted to hospital following her vomiting, the patient’s gastric band was emptied and she was reassured that everything was fine.  Her symptoms, however, continued and, although she lost weight, her GP referred her for further review. This revealed that the likely cause of the vomiting was because her gastric band had been incorrectly placed in an off position.  She has recently had the band removed.

In our experience of handling bariatric surgery cases, we have identified the following five main areas of substandard or negligent care that can result in claims:

  • Putting the band on the wrong part of the stomach or at the wrong angle during the gastric banding operation. This can result in complete blockage requiring emergency surgery. Failure to spot this situation developing post-operatively can often be negligence in itself.
  • Failure to staple the joins properly in gastric bypass surgery can cause a leak and, again, a failure to recognise the development of a leak post-operatively can often be open to criticism.
  • Performing the wrong type of bypass procedure.
  • Surgeons who perform the procedure without sufficient expertise and making unacceptable technical errors.
  • Quality issues with the gastric band itself which may result in a product liability claim against the manufacturer rather than the surgeon.

In this particular case, we are considering whether it was appropriate for this patient to be advised to have weight loss surgery and whether the surgery was carried out to an acceptable standard.  An independent investigation involving an independent expert will now be undertaken to look into the standard of care for this patient. 

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP