Solicitor and Managing Partner
Weight loss surgery, also referred to as bariatric surgery, is surgery performed on your digestive system to help you lose weight.
These procedures are typically performed on people suffering from obesity who struggle with obesity-related conditions, such as high blood pressure, and have found it impossible to lose weight through other means, such as diet and exercise or prescription diet pills.
There are multiple types of weight loss surgery, which are selected based on a person’s health, circumstances and the permanence of the procedure.
Some of the most common include:
A band is placed around the stomach to create a pouch at the top. This reduces the capacity of the stomach so you do not need to eat as much to feel full, resulting in weight loss. The band is connected to a device used to tighten it until it is secure and comfortable.
Surgical staples are used to create a small pouch at the top of the stomach. This pouch is then connected to the patient’s small intestine to bypass the stomach entirely, meaning it takes less food to feel full and you absorb fewer calories.
A large part of the stomach is removed entirely so it is much smaller than before, meaning it takes less to become full.
A soft balloon, filled with either air or salt water, is placed in the stomach using a thin tube passed down your throat (gastroscopy). This is often a temporary measure, with the balloon usually left in for a maximum of six months.
A newly developed technique where a tube called an endoscope is passed into the stomach, allowing a surgeon to gather the stomach into folds. This makes the stomach smaller.
Like all surgeries, weight loss surgeries carry a degree of risk. Those undergoing these procedures will already be in a high-risk group due to suffering from obesity, and each type of surgery can result in complications, such as:
Gastric bands slipping out of place or eroding
Development of blood clots
An anastomosis (surgical connection between two structures) breaking down over time
Injuries caused by gastric bands needing to be inserted partly blind
Infection to a wound
Leaks in the gut
A blockage to the gut
Development of gallstones
These are common complications that can occur during and following surgery, even if it was performed competently. It is crucial that before undergoing a weight loss procedure a patient is fully informed about these risks and how they balance against the benefits of undergoing surgery.
If you or a loved one were not properly informed about the risks of this type of surgery at the consenting stage, or you were recommended a surgery that was not appropriate based on your needs, then this could be grounds for a negligence claim if your surgery resulted in a poor outcome.
While the overwhelming majority of bariatric surgeries are handled competently, mistakes can and do happen.
Typically, this negligence will fall into one of two categories:
A general surgical error
A failure to follow up on potential problems
Problems may be able to be rectified if the patient is monitored correctly. However, this is sadly not always the case, and post-surgery negligence can be just as problematic as the initial mistake. Examples of this include:
Failure to identify and respond to signs of post-operative infection or malnutrition
Failure to spot signs of internal bleeding
Failure to recognise stomach punctures and leaks, which could cause serious illness
A delay in performing emergency corrective surgery for an obstruction, which could cause a patient to become septic
Failure to make someone aware of requirements post-surgery can also be viewed as negligence. For example, failing to ensure that someone following gastric band surgery receives proper advice about nutrition and the necessity to take vitamin supplements could have serious complications for their long-term health.
As qualified and specialised medical negligence solicitors with over 20 years experience, we are experts at handling weight loss surgery claim cases.
Our credentials and established reputation mean that hospitals and trusts are willing to work with us, and often recommend us, to seek fair outcomes for claimants to receive the compensation they deserve.
Trust us with your compensation claim and contact us today to see how we can help you.
The consequences of poorly performed weight loss surgery or inadequate aftercare can be far-reaching. It could range from requiring additional procedures to correct mistakes and longer recovery times, to complications that affect a person for the remainder of their life. In the worst cases, negligent surgery can cost someone their life altogether.
If you or someone you care about has been affected by any of the negligent actions described above, our specialist solicitors at Gadsby Wicks will work with you to determine if you have grounds for a medical negligence claim, and to secure the compensation you deserve.
To prove that you have a legitimate compensation claim, it is important to answer three key questions:
Did a healthcare professional breach their duty of care towards you?
Did you suffer pain, injury, loss or damage during or following treatment?
Was your suffering a direct result of the healthcare professional’s breach of duty?
We will work with you to answer these, assessing all available evidence and communicating with relevant medical experts. This will involve speaking to a practising bariatric surgeon, whose expertise will help us establish whether your surgeon’s actions were reasonable, and quantify the amount of compensation you deserve.
The amount of compensation you are entitled to following a weight loss surgery claim will largely depend on how your injuries have altered your life, and can help towards a range of costs, including:
Future procedures and treatments
Loss of earnings
Annual check-ups and scans
Home and vehicle adaptations
Long-term care requirements
In the unfortunate circumstances that surgical complications lead to a patient’s death, it is possible for certain individuals to claim for their pre-death pain, suffering and loss of amenities and for any financial support or services the deceased provided for them. You can learn more about this in our article Death by medical negligence – how to make a claim.
We investigate all available evidence, including medical records, witness statements and independent medical opinion to determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to based on the suffering you endured and how this has impacted your life.
There is no firm answer to this question – every claim is different, and time it takes to reach final settlement will depend on several factors, including:
The stance taken by the defendants
The time it takes to get in touch with medical experts
However, as medical negligence specialists, we can ensure that your claim will be conducted in the most efficient way possible, and we would typically expect a claim to be settled within two to five years.
In most circumstances, you have three years to make a weight loss surgery claim. However, there are exceptions:
Claimants under the age of 18 have until their 21st birthday to make a claim
There is no time limit for a claimant who is mentally incapacitated
We would always recommend contacting us even if your claim is made outside of the standard three-year window. Every claim is at the discretion of the Court, and we will always advise on whether your claim is likely to be accepted.
We understand the physical, psychological and financial hardship that can result from a poorly executed weight loss surgery. If you or a loved one has suffered in this way, we are here to support your claim and secure your right to justice.
There are several ways you can reach us to start your compensation claim:
Once you reach out, we will speak to you about your situation and if we agree to take on your case, you will be assigned one of our trusted solicitors to guide you through the process from start to finish. One point of contact across your entire journey.
Since 1993 we have provided specialist advice across all forms of medical negligence claims, and will dedicate the time and resources necessary to get the right result.
96% of our claims settle without going to court
No win, no fee – you pay nothing unless we win your case
We are the first firm in England to have two or more lawyers accredited as clinical negligence specialists by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
In-house medical professionals to assist with your case
Speak to us today to discover how we can help you receive the answers and compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have experienced surgical negligence and would like to speak to someone about your options, our team is here to listen and advise you on your next steps.