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Settlement secured for woman following gastric band surgery

A woman who suffered serious abdominal complications following a gastric band tightening procedure has secured a substantial five-figure settlement.

Posted on 19 May 2020

The 41-year-old patient, who we have called Sophie, suffered an infection which led to emergency surgery in which her gastric band had to be removed.
As a result she has regained weight, putting her at risk of diabetes and her life expectancy has been reduced. She has a 37cm abdominal scar which will require cosmetic surgery.
Sophie was represented by Leigh Day medical negligence solicitor Lauren Tully who argued in her legal case that during the initial private procedure in 2014, a bariatric nurse who re-inflated, or tightened, the gastric band did not wear gloves or properly sterilise the area of Sophie’s abdomen before injecting saline into the gastric band port.
The injection site became inflamed and Sophie then had to undergo surgery to drain an abscess.
When further surgery was carried out at Aintree Hospital to remove the infected port, the rest of the gastric band was left in place.
The abdominal pain persisted, yet at a follow-up appointment at Aintree Hospital, Sophie was not properly reviewed and the continuing infection was not spotted.
The pain worsened and a few days later Sophie was admitted to a different hospital where a CT scan showed she needed emergency surgery.
The subsequent laparotomy uncovered purulent peritonitis and the gastric band was removed.
Sophie’s recovery was complicated and prolonged. She requires further bariatric surgery to help her regain control of her weight, but she is at risk of suffering from complications of the surgery.
In her legal case it was argued that if Aintree Hospital had provided Sophie with appropriate care and removed the entire band initially or had the continuing infection been noticed sooner, the resulting laparotomy and its consequent complications and scarring would have been avoided.
The case was settled without an admission of liability.
Sophie said:
“I am grateful to have secured some measure of compensation for the extreme physical discomfort I have endured over a long period of time. I face serious challenges to lose the weight I have regained, which has made me feel extremely low. I have the added misery of knowing that I may have to deal with other weight-related conditions and the life-limiting restrictions they will place on me.”
Lauren Tully added:

“We argued in the legal case that the bariatric nurse should have used a strict aseptic technique in carrying out the band tightening in 2014. Had she done so, Sophie would not have developed an infection or required any surgery. She would not have gained weight as a result of the gastric band being removed.
“The hospital which removed the port should have removed the entire band as by this time, the bacteria causing the infection was ‘living’ on the different parts of the band and so the infection would not resolve without removal of all of the parts.
“I am glad to have secured compensation which will be some comfort to Sophie amid the great physical and mental challenges she faces in the future.”