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  • Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read

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    Old 11-22-2005, 02:45 PM   #1
    Marge C
    Join Date: Nov 2005
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    Marge C HB User
    Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read

    My daughter, Johnine, was a beautiful, loving and caring person. She would help anyone if they needed it. She made the world a better place in the short time she was here. Johnine had gastric bypass surgery on November 24, 2004, the day before Thanksgiving. She was 29 years old and married with a one-year-old daughter.

    She was a hairdresser by trade and because of her profession, she was required to be on her feet for long hours. Johnine developed sciatica in her lower back that traveled to her legs causing a great deal of pain. Her wish, which she told her surgeon, was to wake up in the morning without pain. Johnine was healthy in every way except that she had a hard time controlling her weight. The doctor told her that the weight was causing her back problem and that if she lost a significant amount of weight, the pain would cease. He then told her that she was a prime candidate for gastric bypass surgery. She heard of people having great success with the surgery in the media and she met two people who had the surgery successfully at a party.

    What we did not know at the time was that these people had the surgery with a full incision while Johnine’s surgeon would only perform the surgery laproscopically which is a fairly new form of this surgery. This surgery is performed without making a large incision so that the doctor has a full view of the organs. Rather it is performed through a series of small incisions and the doctor relies on the use of cameras placed inside the abdomen to perform the surgery. Since the surgeon is only able to see inside the abdomen with the camera, it is more likely that they will make a mistake. I feel that my Johnine was used as an experiment. She was told that her doctor would not do the surgery any other way.

    When I spoke with Johnine following the surgery, she did not feel well at all. She had a fever and was in great pain. On Thursday evening she called me to tell me that they thought she may have developed a blood clot which could be fatal. After further testing, it was determined that she did not have a blood clot. During the day on Friday, she continued to run a fever with nausea and great pain. When she or her husband complained to the nurses, they told her it was normal. On Saturday morning, she was given liquid for the first time which she was unable to keep down. She became even sicker after that. She had a fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, and increasing pain in her left lower abdomen. I called the nurse for help and was told that this too was normal. When I demanded that her surgeon see her, I was told that he was unavailable. The doctor never came in and the hospital was understaffed so I would learn later that even her chart went undocumentated for that day and our complaints were lost. After her husband and I hounded the nurses for relief, a resident came to see her but he too told us that her condition was normal and nothing to worry about.

    Finally, her surgeon returned to the hospital on Sunday. Upon his examination, he finally agreed that there was problem and informed us that she needed exploratory surgery. They took her into surgery that day and opened her chest up. Her surgeon told us that he found a leak in her intestine that was causing an infection. He told us they had repaired the leak and she should recover fine. I now know that she was already in septic shock at this time and that they were unable to save her life.

    Monday, November 29, 2004 was Johnine’s daughter’s first birthday and also the last time that I would ever speak to my daughter. She called me that morning to speak for a few minutes before her husband got to the hospital. I was at home with her baby. About two hours after we hung up, she began to have trouble breathing. The doctors induced sleep in order to put her on life support. My family and I rushed to the hospital where we were told that they were taking her in for a third surgery. She remained in surgery until late in the evening. For the first time, the surgeon let us know that she was critically ill and that she was septic though we did not know what that meant at the time. Septsis is an infection of the blood that commonly occurs in abdomen surgery and is able to be successfully treated if it is diagnosed and an antibiotic is given within the first 48 hours, which I found out after her death.

    Throughout Tuesday, all of Johnine’s major organs began to fail as the hours passed. We received a call late Tuesday night asking us to pull the plug on her life support because her brain had shut down. This was not a decision that any of us could make so we told them no. On Wednesday morning at 1:20 a.m., Johnine’s heart gave out. Her poor body was left ravaged by the marks of so many surgeries and so swollen that she was actually about 40 pounds heavier at death than she was when she went in to the hospital a week before. A young healthy daughter, wife, sister, mother, and friend was gone. She was only twenty-nine years old and had everything to live for.

    Johnine was told there was a one percent chance that she could die from the surgery. However, after doing research, I now believe that number is sadly deflated and that many deaths actually due to the surgery are not factored into that number. The doctors are only telling you the number of people who are dying during the surgery and not the amount who die from complications after the surgery or the patients who are left with severe disabilities as a result of the surgery. The stories of these people only became known to us after Johnine passed away. Possible complications include heart, liver or kidney failure, dumping, weakness and other disabilities. Johnine trusted her surgeon and he let her down. If he had come to see her on the Friday after the surgery, it is likely that he would have diagnosed her septsis and treated her in enough time to save her life. He will have to live his life with the knowledge that he failed her in her time of need and answer to his maker as well as the hospital staff who failed to help her in time. There is no doubt in my mind that Johnine was neglected by her surgeon and the hospital staff and that this was the main cause of her death.

    I would urge anyone considering the surgery to not have it done. It is too dangerous and the long-term health consequences for even the successful candidates is unknown. If I had known all the consequences and risks of the surgery, I would have done more to make sure that my daughter never had it done.

    If you have any questions, please contact me.
    Thank you.

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    Old 11-23-2005, 10:59 AM   #2
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    unusual_blessin HB User
    Re: Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I hope that you can find happiness in this holiday season, even though, it is a one year mark for her death. My heart aches for you and your family, that sweet baby that had to lose her mother because of the ignorance of those who are suppose to help keep her healthy. Your family is in my prayers. Have the best holiday possible and God Bless!
    Unusual Blessin

    Old 11-23-2005, 11:55 AM   #3
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    Location: Bramton, Ontario
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    pipermac HB User
    Re: Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read

    I feel Greatly for you.....I cant imagine what you have gone through. It seems to me more like the Doctors and hospital were the fault rather then the type of surgery performed. not that I expect it to be a consolodation to you but I would think there could be a possibility of malpractice in the case. have you looked into this?

    Old 11-23-2005, 02:59 PM   #4
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    Lenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB User
    Re: Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read


    All my sympathy to you. And the horrible irony of this is that Johnine's operation was probably put in the SUCCESS column.

    Old 11-23-2005, 09:35 PM   #5
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    lily61 HB User
    Re: Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read

    i am so sorry for your loss!!!! i too have been telling people the dangers of this surgery. my son's best friend who was only 24, died in june of 2004. all he wanted to do was loose weight, he even started eating baby food befor the surgery so he would understand how to eat was a total shock to everyone!!! my son and this boy's family was so could this happen, he too was taken in to surgery for a second time, but he died on the table.
    my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!! my son's friend brian was a sweet boy...people should really think about this before they do it.


    Old 11-26-2005, 02:27 AM   #6
    Join Date: Oct 2005
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    charliaustralia HB User
    Re: Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read

    Hi Marge, I am so sorry for your loss. It's Charli from Australia here and thank you, you have just answered my question. The question I have been pondering over for a couple of years. I am 32 with a baby daughter and it sounds like you could have saved my life. I'm not having surgery its just too dangerous. God Bless you and your family Marge. Thank you. Love Charli

    Old 04-17-2007, 01:20 PM   #7
    Join Date: Apr 2007
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    bobbyact HB User
    Re: Gastric Bybass Surgery Related Death - Please Read

    There are no words that can approach the level of remorse experienced due to your loss. Mere words certainly are not enough. As with anything in life...our views of any given events or circumstances....we can but only speak of our own experience(s)....and how we are PERSONALLY affected by them.
    I had Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery 4 years ago this month (April, 2007) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. My surgeon was (is) a published author and innovator on this medical breakthrough (Minimally Invasive Bariatric Surgery). His highly-regarded works include "Second Generation Laparoscopic Procedures," "New Developments in Laparoscopy" and "Interventional Laparoscopy: The State of the Art for the New Millennium." I could absolutely have NOT been in better hands...and pretty much EVERYONE I spoke with told me the exact same thing...including his FORMER patients.
    I attended weekly meetings (for SIX months) of post-op AND pre-op patients who, like myself, wanted to hear ALL sides of the story as many times as possible before commiting to such a life-changing event. Each meeting was attended by anywhere from 20 to as many as 50-60 people...Post-ops telling their stories...Pre-ops asking questions and getting straightforward answers. I attended those meetings at Providence St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank due to convenience of travel for me, although I knew the actual surgery would take place at Cedars-Sinai. That hospital's obvious reputation as well as the research I'd done on my surgeon's reputation and competency regarding this specific procedure was extensive.
    I weighed 298-300 pounds at the time. I was fortunate enough that there was NOTHING wrong with me other than my weight, which was the proverbial life-long battle experienced by untold numbers throughout medical history. AND...I was 53 years old. I had a HISTORY of diabetes in my family; When I was 10 years old my father DIED of a heart attack; he was 44. My dad weighed about 250-260 lbs. I had NEITHER diabetes OR any signs of heart problems. I had, my entire life, what two different doctors referred to as "runner's pulse." My blood pressure has NEVER strayed from normal. My only downside -- healthwise -- was asthma.
    BUT - since moving from the frigid northeast to South Florida and then Southern California many years ago I have not had one single attack. The temperature drop on a CONSISTENT basis triggered my attacks, and since I couldn't WAIT to escape from my birthplace in New York ANYWAY.....the move to warmer climes was a HEALTHY move to boot. I will never regret moving.
    Back to the story. I had my surgery on a Friday afternoon...the Friday after Easter in 2003. Saturday was an uncomfortable day (just as I was told it would be)...mostly due to the gas injected to expand the abdominal cavity. I walked the required 'mile' that day...four times around the corridor. I was released on Sunday afternoon and felt SO good that I insisted to my wife that I could drive home...which I easily did. I felt nothing BUT great. Two days later I was (bag and all) on my Honda taking the twisties up on Mulholland out in Calabasas all the way to the PCH.
    I can eat pretty much ANYTHING. Mother Nature does exactly what the surgery was performed TO limits the amount of food I can eat by signalling the brain that it is FULL. My life has changed SO much that mere words could NEVER, EVER begin to describe the benefits I've reaped. Annual physicals...and I mean THOROUGH annual physicals....continue to confirm that I am so MUCH healthier than before...that it continues to amaze me every single day.
    I was "dancing with the devil" back then. All that weight...yet no onset of ANY of the diseases or maladies that have plagued my family and have taken so many of my loved ones, including BOTH parents and treasured relatives.
    If I had the option to sign the surgery papers again realize the amazing benefits I would reap now, 4 years later...and into the couldn't get a pen in my hand FAST enough. I might add,
    there were 5 fellow patients my surgeon operated on that day...I was the last one on his table for the day. Every one of us considers ourselves truly blessed that on THAT day in April, 2003, our lives were changed FOREVER in the most beneficial way we could have ever imagined.
    Again, it IS a matter of perspective...what each of us PERSONALLY experiences. We hear of a car being hit in the parking lot and to a degree we feel for the owner. Then they tell us it's OUR car that was hit and suddenly the stakes have been raised, in our minds, to a MUCH higher degree! Yes, there are those that will chastise me for even using THAT analogy...but everything's relative. My experience with this surgery --- I have been blessed. Truly blessed.

    God Bless,

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