September 14th, 2011
CBS 2 Chicago
By: Dave Savini
A weight-loss surgery turned into a nightmare and cost a woman both of her legs.
CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini examines allegations that she was not properly monitored or treated, in part, because she was hospitalized during a holiday.
Life for Mary Beth Ruphard has changed drastically since last Thanksgiving. Weighing 278 pounds, she went to Provena St. Joseph Medical Center, in Joliet, for surgery to beat her battle with obesity.
“I just wanted to live longer, live better you know, said Ruphard. “I had diabetes (and) hypertension as my risk factors.”
Ruphard had weight-loss surgery in early November, then was back in the hospital for surgery to repair a perforation. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, she started complaining about her legs.
“I did complain to a nurse,” said Ruphard. “I say, ‘my legs, they are aching and they are tingling.’”
Repeated notes in her medical chart say Ruphard’s toes were cold and blue then later there was no feeling below the knees. She reportedly was losing circulation, but no immediate action was taken, according to her attorney Laird Ozmon.
“The doctor that amputated her legs was highly upset and made the statement, ‘Why was I not called in earlier’?” said Ozmon.
Ozmon says it then took 36 hours for another surgeon to be called in, to try and save her legs. It was too late and both legs had to be amputated.
“I remember laying in the bed kind of feeling down here and not being able to feel anything,” Ruphard said while pointing to the bottom of her leg. “No knees, no calves, no nothing.”
Ozmon filed a lawsuit against the medical center claiming they failed to monitor her and failed to act when she had symptoms of blood clots in her legs, even though he says they knew she had a pre-existing blood clotting condition.
“Simply because someone happens to get ill on a holiday doesn’t mean that their not entitled to that same standard of care, and that clearly, clearly in this case was not abided by,” said Ozmon.
Ruphard is still recovering and trying to deal with new limitations.
“Being able to walk alongside my husband holding his hand or, you know, dancing to our wedding song,” said Ruphard. “That’s not going to happen again.”
A statement from Provena St. Joseph Medical Center said the surgery carries risks and complications. It also said patients are diligently monitored and cared for.
“While patient privacy laws prevent us from commenting on the specifics of this isolated incident, this patient’s continued recovery remains in our prayers,” officials said in a prepared statement.
June 13th, 2011
By: Madison Park
Getting bariatric surgery will not decrease mortality several years after the surgery, according to a study published in JAMA.
Although the weight-loss surgery has been shown to decrease weight and diminish diabetes, the older, severely obese male patients in the study were not living longer because of the procedure.
The study was to be presented Sunday at the Academy Health Annual Research Meeting.
For the severely obese, bariatric surgery is one of the most effective ways to reduce weight. The most common bariatric surgery is gastric bypass, which creates a small stomach pouch that restricts food intake.
The study conducted at Veteran Affairs medical centers followed 850 veterans who had bariatric surgery from January 2000 to December 2006.
When study authors compared the raw rates, patients who had surgery had lower mortality rates with 6.8 percent versus 15.2 percent after six years.
But when researchers compared the 850 veterans to 1,694 similar patients who did not have bariatric surgery, they found that surgery was not significantly associated with reducing mortality.
Matthew Maciejewski, of Durham VA Medical Center and colleagues concluded that “bariatric surgery does not appear to be associated with survival during a mean of 6.7 years of follow-up.”
December 21st, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
Weight loss surgery is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, raising concerns about potentially unknown side effects in this younger population.
Researchers found that in California alone, 590 people between the ages of 13 and 20 underwent weight loss surgery between 2005 and 2007. The rate of complications, including bleeding, infection, and kidney or lung problems, was the same among teenagers as among adults.
“Obesity surgery is the gold standard for permanent weight loss, [but] with more and more teens and children being obese and overweight, we are starting to see the treatment for that kind of go over to that age group,” CBS correspondent Jennifer Ashton said.
The majority of surgical weight-loss procedures, including the popular lap-band, have not had their safety and effectiveness tested in children and are not approved for use in that population.
Advocates of weight-loss surgery in children say that intervening early to fight obesity can have important lifelong health benefits.
“We will hopefully be able to prevent the diabetes, the high blood pressure, the high cholesterol that we’re starting to see in teenagers who are already obese,” Ashton said. “Why wait until they are 20 or 30 to start treating that when some people say you should start treating it when they have the disorder?”
The problem is that no research has been done on the long-term consequences of surgically altering a teenager’s digestive system.
“How do these people how do 10, 20, 30 years after the procedure?” Ashton said. “That’s going to be very important.”
Writing in his book Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution, Steven R. Gundry echoes that concern.
“I’m worried about all those gastric bypass patients who lose 150 pounds in six months,” he writes. “I’d like them to let me know how they’re doing twenty to thirty years from now.”