Stomach-Stapling Kills Too

Lately, I've written a lot about the dangers of gastric bypass surgery and the push by big business to push that unsafe choice onto patients desparate for answers. But this report is even more tragic.

An obese woman, who had her stomach stapled to lose weight, died along with her 8-month-old fetus in what some believe is a cautionary tale about the dangers women face when they conceive so soon after such surgery.

Of the more than 110,000 people who have gastric bypass surgery annually in the U.S., most are child-bearing women.

The chain of events that lead to the woman's death began when the woman, who was nearly dead, was moved from one hospital to another because the cause of her sudden pain in her upper stomach had been misdiagnosed.

After an infection was detected, doctors performed an emergency surgery. They found most of the woman's small intestine had slid through a hernia in an adjacent membrane, a defect sometimes left after the intestines are rearranged in the bypass operation. The hole choked off blood to the stretch of intestines, and the tissue turned gangrenous.

By then the fetus had died, and even though the intestine was repaired, the woman, who still weighed 440 pounds, died within a few hours.

Of the gastric bypasses performed in the United States this year, complications strike as many as 1 in 5 patients, and it is believed that for every 200 patients, 1 to 4 will die.

That's why I strongly advocate a nonsurgical approach that recommends the following:

  • An exercise plan
  • A diet based on your personal nutritional type
  • Tools to help you handle the emotional side of losing weight

    New York Times August 14, 2004

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