Army Hospital Malpractice Lawsuit Results in $9.5M Settlement Over Botched Gastric Bypass Surgery

The medical malpractice lawsuit claims an Army hospital made several errors during gastric bypass surgery, resulting in paralysis and eventual death.

The United States government has agreed to pay $9.5 million to the family of a woman who died six weeks after a botched gastric bypass surgery at an Army hospital in Hawaii.

The settlement stems from a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the family of Julie Bond, who suffered fatal complications after weight loss surgery in 2020. According to allegations raised by Bond’s family, staff at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii made several serious surgical errors, which led to further complications that caused her death less than two months later.

Bond, a 31-year-old mother and wife to a former Army sergeant, was referred to the hospital’s bariatric surgery program by her primary care physician, after having trouble losing weight she gained during pregnancy earlier that year.

The lawsuit indicated Bond underwent a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure at Tripler in November 2020. During the procedure, the stomach is divided to create a new, smaller one, and the small intestine is redirected to the pouch, bypassing the remaining portion of the stomach.

Surgical Mistake Led to Paralysis, Death

According to the complaint, Bond’s surgeons made a major surgical mistake during the procedure and reattached her small intestine backwards, which caused an intestinal hernia and required an emergency surgery three days later.

During the emergency surgery, anesthetists damaged Bond’s lungs, which caused the development of blood clots. She needed a machine to remove the clots but Tripler’s was not working at the time. Instead of transferring her to another facility that had a functioning blood clot-retrieval device and was willing to treat Bond, her doctors decided to prescribe clot-busting medication.

Tripler doctors administered tPA, a tissue plasminogen activator protein designed to help the body breakdown blood clots, which then caused Bond to suffer micro-hemorrhages throughout her brain. The bleeding left Bond in a coma for some time, and when she did finally awaken, she suffered from a rare disorder known as locked-in syndrome.

Bond was conscious of everything around her when she awoke from the coma, but the syndrome left her completely paralyzed. She could blink and cry but could not breathe, eat, or move on her own. She was completely dependent on a ventilator to breathe and other life support machines to keep her body functioning.

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Approximately a month and a half after Bond underwent gastric bypass surgery, she developed sepsis and died on December 16, 2020.

To resolve the medical malpractice lawsuit brought against Tripler Army Medical Center, the U.S. government reached a medical malpractice settlement agreement to pay the Bond family $9.5 million.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Risks

Gastric bypass procedures are often recommended to treat obesity and other metabolic diseases, when diet and exercise have not worked, or when complications from other health conditions prevent weight loss. While the surgeries have been successful in treating obesity, they have been associated with harmful side effects and long-term health complications.

Prior research has linked gastric bypass surgery to increased risks of diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, and other stomach problems. Another study found the surgeries were associated with more health complications, longer hospitalizations, and many needed another surgery or alternative weight loss treatment.

Studies have also shown those who underwent gastric bypass surgery faced higher risks of death and venous thrombosis.

A recent study found the weight loss procedures may also increase the risk of drug addiction among patients. The findings of that study found gastric bypass surgery recipients faced higher risks of developing non-alcohol substance use disorder (SUD), or addictions to hypnotic, sedative, anti-anxiety, stimulant, and opioid medications.

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  • JerryJanuary 31, 2024 at 6:33 am

    Whom may I contact about a claim for a "Landmark Decision"? Thank you.

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