Largest Verdict in a Personal Injury case
in Pennsylvania history
Largest-ever compensatory verdict
Then-second largest Product
Liability verdict in U.S. history
Auto Accident Verdict
Largest single-victim fatality settlement
Civil Rights verdict
- Click Here For Kline & Specter News Alerts
- 15 at Kline & Specter named Super Lawyers, Rising Stars (click here)
- On TV ⇒ Tom Kline files suit deadly NJ gas explosion - see coverage (click here)
- On TV ⇒ Tom Kline files suit in death of radio host E. Steven Collins (click here)
- On TV ⇒ Specter files suit in fatal fire escape collapse (click here)
- PA Supreme Court to hear Tom Kline appeal on liability cap law (click here)
- On TV ⇒ Tom Kline interviewed on abduction case anniversary
- Kline, Safier, Clarke win $42.9M med-mal verdict -- one of PA's largest (click here)
- On TV ⇒ Shanin Specter interviewed on house explosion lawsuit (click here)
- Kline, Guerrini, Williams win $11.6M premises liability settlement (click here)
- Study: Kline & Specter tops in major PA verdicts, settlements (click here)
- Kline & Specter had largest award vs. VA in 10 years (click here)
- On TV ⇒ Shanin Specter comments on the Ellison case, CBS3
- Kline & Specter settles first Penn State sexual abuse case (click here)
- On TV ⇒ Andy Stern comments on building collapse video (click here)
- Tom Kline named No. 1 PA Super Lawyer record 10th straight year
- 14 at Kline & Specter named Super Lawyers, Specter in Top 10 again
- On TV ⇒ Kline & Specter files suit in unnecessary stent procedure case
- Firm wins record $105 million settlement in power line death case
- Tom Kline argues before appellate panel vs. cap on jury awards
- Specter, Baldwin, Guerrini $109 million verdict among U.S.Top 10
- Tom Kline named 2013 Best Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
- Seven at Kline & Specter named "Best Lawyers in America"
- Kline & Specter Courtroom dedicated at Penn Law School
- Kline & Specter named No. 1 Product Liability Firm in the United States
- Kline, Specter named among nation's 500 "Leading Lawyers"
- On TV ⇒ ESPN features the Plevretes case, Shanin Specter
- Best Lawyers names Tom Kline No. 1 Phila. personal injury attorney
- Specter, Safier, Williams win $17.5M med-mal verdict
- See more Kline & Specter stories in the news
Gastric Bypass / Bariatric Surgery Injury Questions
Pennsylvania - New Jersey - New York - Nationwide
The Surgical Procedure
How is gastric bypass (bariatric) surgery performed?
There are two types of operations. In open gastric bypass surgery an incision is made in the abdomen. In laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, a smaller incision is made and a surgeon uses small instruments and a camera to guide the surgical process.
In both procedures, surgical staples (or sometimes a plastic band) are used to create a small pouch at the top of the stomach, hence the colloquial term "stomach stapling" used to refer to the surgery. The smaller stomach is then connected directly to the middle of the small intestine, bypassing much of the upper stomach and intestines.
How It Works
How does gastric bypass surgery work to reduce weight?
Most simply, gastric bypass surgery is surgery that makes the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass a portion of the small intestine. Patients who undergo successful surgery generally lose weight afterward for two reasons: they feel full sooner and bypassing the small intestine causes fewer calories to be absorbed by the body.
What are the risks of gastric bypass (bariatric) surgery?
While gastric bypass surgery has benefited many people, saving them from health problems associated with obesity, the risks of bariatric surgery are many. According to the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, which has an internationally respected gastric bypass program, these problems range from the commonplace and remediable to the serious and fatal.
Perhaps the most common problem is a leak from a staple or staples that have pulled loose from the stomach (or the spot where the new, smaller stomach is attached to the small intestine) into the abdominal cavity. This can produce peritonitis (an inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdomen wall) or a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of blood flow into the lungs. If left untreated too long, either can prove fatal.
The following are the risk rates seen at the Virginia Commonwealth University program for open gastric bypass surgery:
- Major wound infection – 2 percent
- Incisional hernia – 20 percent
- Ulcer – 9 percent
- Blood clots in the lungs – 0.5 percent
- Peritonitis, or leak from hook-up – 1.5 percent
- Death – 1 percent
Some programs have put the risk ratios at higher levels, some lower. The fatality rate was reported at 2 percent in the study of 3,328 gastric bypass patients reported in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The American Gastroenterological Association reported in 2002 that fewer than three in 200 (or 1.5 percent) of patients die after the weight-loss surgery. Other studies have put the fatality risk at 1 percent or lower.
Still with 170,000 gastric bypasses expected to be performed in the United States in 2005, even a 1 percent fatality rate represents 1,700 deaths following bariatric surgery.
A Major Cause Of Problems
What is a major cause of bariatric-related injuries?
The proliferation of patients seeking bariatric surgery (which typically costs $25,000 to $30,000) has meant that more and more doctors are jumping into the field to perform the operations. Some reports place physician inexperience as the most significant factor in gastric bypass patient deaths. According to one study, the risk of death within 30 days of the surgery was far greater – 4.7 times greater – in cases in which a surgeon had performed fewer than 20 gastric bypass procedures. Many may lack not only the experience for the surgery but many also lack proper training. (Reports also have surfaced over defective surgical staplers.)
What is obesity?
More than 64 percent of adults in the United States are considered overweight or obese, according to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Among those are people considered to be “morbidly obese,” defined as 100 pounds overweight, a condition associated with severe physical problems. The most serious, of course, is an increased mortality rate due to a number of health-related factors.
According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, for men and women 50 percent above average weight the mortality rate increased twofold, and by far greater rates for people with diabetes or digestive tract disease. Most of the deaths are associated with conditions stemming from obesity, including hypertension, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, cholelithiasis, obstructive sleep apnea, hypoventilation, degenerative arthritis and psychosocial impairments.
Click here if you or someone you know has suffered a severe injury or death as the result of gastric bypass/bariatric surgery