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Woman Dies Following Weight Loss Surgery

A 52 year old woman has died following Lap Band weight loss surgery in a Beverly Hills hospital, although details of the cause have yet to be confirmed.

The Beverly Hills Surgery Center is at the center of an investigation called for by local health officials after Tamara Walter of Lawndale, 52 year old mother of Courtney Brown died following what should have been a routine Lap Band System procedure.

Routine Procedure

Brown said that her mother went in for the procedure after she gained over 50 pounds over the year and saw a television commercial that promoted the surgery and was very excited about it.

On December 22, Tamara Walter came over to Beverly Hills for her weight loss surgery and the preparations were all routine. Nothing could have prepared the family for what was to come, however. They said that around two hours following the 25 minute surgery, she just stopped breathing.

She was immediately taken to the local hospital and put on life support. Sadly, the day after Christmas the family had to make the heart rending decision to take her off life support.

The surgeon who performed the operation was Dr. Atul Madan. He is also the director of the Top Surgeons clinic. Madan's attorney, Brian Oxman has informed reporters that they are looking for answers just as Walter's family are. The attorney said,

"Most of the time you have these kinds of events, it is an anesthesia problem. It has nothing to do that we can tell with that Lap Band System procedure. It doesn't have anything to do that we can tell with the doctor himself. It is probably the best of all of the procedures involving weight-loss surgeries. There's just nothing that compares to the safety record."

Was Sleep Apnea a Factor?

There is some speculation that sleep apnea could have been a possible cause as it is known that complications can arise during surgical procedures due to this condition. A large proportion of overweight and obese people suffer with this condition so it is often routinely checked for in hospitals prior to surgery.

It can happen that a sufferer momentarily stops breathing during sleep, but is generally awoken briefly in order to take a gulp of breath and then returns to normal sleep. While under normal circumstances this condition is responsible for poor quality, often interrupted sleep, it can take on a more serious role on the operating table.

A sufferer under anaesthetic may not be able to regain consciousness sufficiently to take a breath when the breathing stops. If this occurs and goes unnoticed by the attending surgeons and nurses, the result could be serious.

There is the possibility that is what occurred in this case, although more information is needed to draw such a conclusion.

Brown has said that her family will not be considering a lawsuit. They are merely looking for answers. On January 5 an autopsy was performed, although results will not be available for inspection for several weeks.


Posted on Wed, 19 Jan 2011 in News | 0 Comments

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