$178 Million Jury Verdict Handed Down in Bariatric Surgery Lawsuit

Marion Fisher | September 13th, 2013

bariatric surgery lawsuitInjured patients who have suffered the effects of botched weight loss surgery may be eligible to recover significant compensation by filing a bariatric surgery lawsuit. Last year, a jury awarded the family of a former Jacksonville, Florida police lieutenant Clay Chandler $178 million in damages against Memorial Hospital Jacksonville for claims of medical negligence and fraud.

Details of bariatric surgery lawsuit

Clayton, who carried 375 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame but stayed active and never failed a physical examination, underwent the laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery in May 2007 on the advice of his doctor, John DePeri. The procedure – meant to improve Chandler’s health and future – left the aspiring sheriff wheelchair bound and brain damaged.

“The tragic thing is that he understands what he was before and what he is now,” his attorney told the media of Chandler, who can no longer speak intelligently or walk, feed, clean or bathe himself.

According to his bariatric surgery lawsuit, Chandler suffered respiratory failure the day after his surgery and was placed into critical care at Memorial Hospital, where his bowels leaked fluids into his abdomen for eight days before DePeri performed a second surgery to repair the leak. At that point, Chandler suffered a stroke due to low blood pressure and became comatose for more than a two week period.

The hospital’s expert witness told the jury that standard procedure for bariatric doctors would be to perform revision surgery as soon a patient showed complications, and no longer than six days after the initial surgery, Edwards said.

While in the coma, the hospital staff failed to give Chandler any lubricating eye drops, causing burning of his retina and permanent blindness.

Fraudulent advertising practices

In court, Chandler’s lawyer blamed the doctor’s inexperience for the botched surgery and argued that the hospital should be liable for fraud, since DePeri’s qualifications fell far short of the hospital’s advertised accreditation standards. To be accredited with the  American Society Bariatric Surgery’s Seal of Excellence – which the hospital included on its bariatric center pamphlets distributed to patients – doctors must have performed 50 bariatric surgeries and logged 20 hours of bariatric education. DePeri only had 21 gastric bypass surgeries under his belt, and had only taken one bariatric course.

The court determined that the pamphlets and other advertisements amounted to fraud and found that the hospital knowingly let DePeri conduct complex surgeries he was not accredited to perform.

Weight loss surgery malpractice in New York

This recent case highlights mounting concerns of weight loss surgery malpractice in New York – a growing problem due in part to increasing obesity rates and inexperienced doctors who may take advantage of desperate patients. If you or a loved one has been the victim of botched weight loss surgery, significant compensation may be recovered through pursuing a bariatric surgery lawsuit.

While no amount of compensation can restore your health, a medical malpractice attorney can determine whether you might be eligible to receive damages to cover your current and future medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages, like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

To discuss your legal rights and options with a veteran team of New York malpractice attorneys, contact The Sanders Firm toll-free at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY for a complimentary case evaluation.

Jacksonville.com - Clay deputy awarded $178 million in lawsuit against Memorial Hospital http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2012-01-23/story/clay-deputy-awarded-178-million-lawsuit-against-memorial-hospital