Our client Wayne has spoken with A Current Affair about his traumatic medical negligence experience following gastric bypass surgery.
Medical negligence is when a healthcare professional or provider fails to treat their patients with reasonable care and skill, causing injury.
Wayne is seeking justice for the serious health issues he now struggles with due to the medical negligence of his surgeon and the hospital.
Wayne underwent gastric bypass surgery at a private hospital on March 6, 2017. After the surgery he developed a fever and elevated CRP, which indicates inflammation. Wayne was discharged on March 17 once his temperature fell to a normal level.
The evening following his discharge, Wayne felt unwell and experienced fever and chills. At 4am he returned to the hospital, but was told he’d need to pay to be readmitted.
Returning home, Wayne called his surgeon to report his symptoms twice that day. His surgeon said what Wayne was experiencing was to be expected in the post-operative period, and not to call him again — he would see Wayne after the weekend.
On March 19, two days after he was discharged, Wayne called an ambulance and was taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with sepsis, a life-threatening illness caused by the body’s response to an infection. He underwent an emergency laparotomy, requiring hospital admission for seven further weeks.
Since the emergency surgery, Wayne struggles with his mobility, as well as being reliant on strong pain medication. He experiences bowel and bladder issues, which means he can’t be far from home. Wayne’s social life has been seriously affected as a result. His condition prevents him from participating in hobbies he previously enjoyed, like basketball coaching.
Wayne's medical negligence claim
On Wayne’s behalf, the Medical Law team has commenced legal action against Wayne’s surgeon and the hospital.
"What was meant to be surgery for a new lease on life has almost cost Wayne his life and those responsible need to be held accountable,” says Daniel Opare, Shine Lawyers Medical Law Expert.
“Both the hospital and the surgeon dismissed Wayne, despite him reporting and presenting to the hospital with classic symptoms of a post-operative infection.”
Rather than dismiss his concerns, Daniel says Wayne’s surgeon should have recognised his patient’s symptoms.
“At the very least, the surgeon should have arranged for his patient to be admitted to hospital and examined by a doctor who was on call.”
Daniel says Wayne should not have been turned away by the hospital due to a failure to pay.
“If payment was an issue, they should have organised for him to be taken by ambulance to a public hospital for those investigations,” he says.
Gastric bypass surgery risks
Infection is one of a number of potential health risks associated with gastric bypass surgery. Throughout a patient’s gastric bypass health journey, medical professionals should recognise and treat risks like:
- Excessive bleeding
- Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
- Blood clots
- Respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal leaks
In the longer term, serious risks to health posed by gastric bypass complications include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Dumping syndrome
- Gall stones
- Low blood sugar
- Stomach perforation
Gastric bypass medical errors
Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients to provide them with a reasonable standard of care. In gastric bypass procedures, medical negligence occurs where that duty is breached and the patient is injured as a result. Examples include:
- Failure to diagnose and treat gastric bleeding or leaking gastric fluid
- Performing the procedure on candidates who are unsuitable due to health conditions
- Failing to recognise and treat surgical complications, like internal hernia or pulmonary embolism
- Inadequate monitoring of patients post-operatively, resulting in conditions like sepsis
- Misdiagnosis of post-operative conditions
I think I have a medical negligence claim. What should I do?
If you believe you’ve suffered medical negligence, contact us to speak to a member of our Medical Law team. The team have a proven record when it comes to obtaining successful outcomes for our clients.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 1, 2021.