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Monday, January 22, 2007

Gastric Bypass Horrors

Hi Gary,

Well after 16 weeks my XXXX still has problems from his gastric bypass! The stomach still hasn't healed and his body is rejecting the naso-esophageal feeding tube. He's vomiting most nights and looks like shit!

But he has lost 80kg (or more) from the virtual starvation regime he has been on, so guess that's what they're going to do? He's been told that in the long run it was a success (well.. he has lost the weight...) so now they're going to reverse the procedure. That means another complicated operation and so naturally he's very depressed and more than a little afraid.

He still has a now somewhat deflated spare tire hanging around his waist so will probably need further "body sculpture" surgery to fix that.

He would have achieved the same result if he had not had the surgery and simply drunk the milkshakes he's been squirting up his nose and left it at that.

We are actually concerned about his chances of suviving another operation in his current condition.

Isn't medical science great!


Gary Moller comments:
Well, it seems that the pre-holiday hype by the weight-loss surgeons worked and they had at least one taker looking for a "new me" for the New Year.

In my last occupation I got to see a regular procession of failures of routine surgery. For these people that "one in ten thousand" failure rate was 100%. Here in NZ the victim ends up carrying the can. It is very difficult and very costly to sue and the assistance from Accident Compensation is measley to the point of being a miserable insult.

In this case, it would appear there is leakage occuring at one of the points where the stomach and intestine have been severed and joined. The tube is feeding a liquid meal (A poor version of my Super Smoothie) into the gut past the point of leakage. The operation has been a failure and the plan to surgically reverse the procedure is fraught with risk. This poor man is already in a malnourished and weakened state and his friends have every right to fear for his survival.

This botched operation has probably cost well over $30k and rising by the day. The reversal will be another $20k. If only there was public funding for a team approach for closely supervised lifestyle, diet and exercise weight loss programmes, similar to what we see on TV reality programmes.

We hear littel about these failures - about 3,000 dead per year in NZ.

In this case, the poor recipient will eventually be chalked up as a success, although with complications. After all - he lost weight didn't he? Let's hope the success is not because he makes a good looking corpse in a regular-size coffin!


BeckyG said...

Hi Gary

I wondered where the data for your statement "3000 dead per year" in this posting came from. As far as I am aware this procedure is not widely funded in the public hospitals and only small number are done in private. So perhaps you mean 3000 dead per year from obesity related illness?

Although I am a health professional I have no vested interest in this surgical approach to weight loss. I agree whole heartedly that a multi-disciplined team approach is the best for weight loss


Gary Moller said...

No - not onbesity related illness - death from medical procedures. Here's some sobering stats for you:

NZ Government stats for 1998 - Last year available:

Associated with medical injury = 4,222
Highly preventable medical injury, all ages = 1,584
Adverse drug reactions = 1,524
Highly preventable adverse drug reaction = 669

3,000 is a conservative statement for medical injury especially where under-reporting is the norm.

Wayne said...

given the extreely long shifts doctors do its not surprising, i work i the health sector, there can be a fair bit of crankiness from doctors on the helpdesk i work on, how much is attributable to high workload and tiredness. IT problems throw them curve balls they just dont need and the stress they are under becomes noticeable to me, i have never encoutered the amount of aggression and rudness in dealing with staff that i have in the health industry, theres no comparison and i've looked after blue collar factory workers who you would expect to be more rough around the edges, but no !
i find my job hard enough doing 12 hour shifts I"d dread doing the sort of shifts that hospital doctors do