Note:  another Inamed money maker ... like breast implants ...

~~~ Thanks Roman for the heads up on this ~~~

EXCERPT: A recent study by researchers at the University of Washington
found that 1 in 50 people die within one month of having gastric
bypass surgery, and that figure jumps nearly five-fold if the surgeon
is inexperienced.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Gone Bad

NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2005

Gastric Bypass Surgery Risks

 (Photo: CBS/The Early Show)

A recent study by researchers at the University of Washington found
that 1 in 50 people die within one month of having gastric bypass
surgery, and that figure jumps nearly five-fold if the surgeon is

(CBS) Gastric bypass surgery, the drastic procedure used to help some
obese people lose weight, continues to grow in popularity.

It's estimated that 140,000 people had this procedure in 2004, with
the number expected to grow even higher this year. And for the
majority of patients, this surgery is a lifesaver, but not for all,
reports The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphys.

Like many people who seek out this surgery, Dave Weindel had been
morbidly obese for most of his life. So he was eager to have surgery
to help him lose weight, get healthy, and live longer to watch his
four young children grow.

"I graduated from eighth grade a couple years later," Christy Weindel
says, crying. "And he wasn't there for that. And he wasn't there for
prom. And I just got married in September. And he wasn't there for
that. It's really tough.

Christy Weindel lost her father when she was 12 years old. Dave
Weindel died three weeks after having gastric bypass surgery.

"I had to come home and had to tell the kids that their dad died. Was
very, very hard," says, Cathy Weindel. According to Weindel's wife, it
wasn't supposed to turn out this way.

She says, "Well, they told us it was major surgery. But they said,
'You know, you're going to be home in three days.' "

Weindel's surgery was July 17, 1998. His stomach was reduced to the
size of an egg and his intestines were re-routed. The surgeon told
Cathy Weindel the operation went well. But within days, Weindel's
health worsened.

He was transferred to a second hospital, where a CT scan revealed a
large abscess. Weindel was treated, but his health continued to

Cathy Weindel says she thinks her husband knew what was happening to

"I still remember, and I still see this in my mind," she says very
emotionally. "When they're shutting everything down and there was
nothing else they could do. I was talking to him. And I saw a tear
come out of his eye. And, I mean, it still stays with me."

Dave Weindel died three weeks after his surgery. He was 38. The
official cause of death: abscess, pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism.

Was Dave Weindel's case a complete anomaly? Not really.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Washington found
that 1 in 50 people die within one month of having gastric bypass
surgery, and that figure jumps nearly fivefold if the surgeon is

Attorney Herman Praszkier says, "You want to know, basically, as much
information about the surgeon's background as you can. Anyone who
evades your question, get up and walk out."

Praszkier represented Cathy Weindel in her lawsuit against her
husband's surgeon and the hospital. It was settled days into the trial
and was the first of a dozen gastric bypass malpractice cases he's

Praszkier explains, "The most common problem in bariatric surgery in
the cases I take (which are only death cases) is that the
post-operative care was insufficient."

Nora Malone is Praszkier's most recent client. She tried to talk her
husband, Ron, out of the surgery.

"I said, 'Let's go. Let's just go.' And he said, 'Oh, I'll be OK,
honey. You'll be so proud of me when I get out of here,' " Malone

Nora Malone met her husband when he was a naval officer stationed in
the Philippines in 1973. They had three daughters.

Their daughter. Liberty. says, "When they went to talk to the doctors,
they came back thinking it was a good thing. You know, he'd get off
his high blood pressure medicine, his diabetes medicine."

Malone had laparascopic gastric bypass surgery just before
Thanksgiving 2003.

"They said there's no risk," Nora Malone says.

But days after the surgery, Ron Malone became very ill. Doctors told
his family there was a leak - and operated again. He didn't improve.

Nora Malone recalls, "And I said, 'I think you have to do something,
doctor.' And he said, 'Mrs. Malone, trust me, your husband is OK.' "

On Dec. 9, 2003, Ron Malone died during his third surgery. The
official cause of death: cardiac arrest. More accurately, Malone died
from complications of gastric bypass surgery.

Dr. Harvey Sugerman says, "There is a risk of a leak following gastric
bypass that can be fatal."

Dr. Sugerman is a retired bariatric surgeon and the president of the
American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS). He says early diagnosis
of a problem is the key.

"I think some doctors got into it without adequate training and
experience and felt that they could do this," Dr. Sugerman says, "The
ASBS is very concerned about deaths after obesity surgery. And we are
doing everything we can to improve quality care by establishing the
Center of Excellence program."

This program will have stringent guidelines that must be met in order
for a bariatric surgery facility to be called, "a Center of
Excellence." When the program launches in June, information will be
posted on a Web site to help patients find quality doctors and
hospitals. Unfortunately, it comes too late for Ron Malone.

And too late for Dave Weindel, whose wife no longer believes in the

"I don't think it's worth it," Cathy Weindel says "It tears your
family apart."

Like these stories, the other finding in the University of Washington
study is that men are more likely to die than women. However, the
study did find that if a patient survived more than a year after the
surgery, then the benefits to their long-term health far outweigh the
risks of the procedure.

So what can a patient considering this surgery do to stay safe?

Evaluate the center/hospital where you are having the surgery. Ask the
surgeon doing the operation how many procedures have they done, what's
their complication rate and what's their mortality rate. And ask what
steps will be taken if a complication occurs.