Posted: December 27, 2018
Wernicke’s Encephalopathy Misdiagnosis Causes Severe Injuries and Death
More than 100,000 weight-loss procedures are performed annually in the United States alone, and numbers are rising. Although these “bariatric” surgeries are lucrative for the doctors who perform weight loss surgery and are heavily advertised on billboards and on the internet, they come with serious risks.
One of these risks is caused by the inability of many bariatric surgery patients to eat or hold food down after their weight loss operations. There are several causes for this nausea and vomiting, some of which may be caused by medical malpractice of the surgeon who performed the bariatric surgery.
Humans need nutrients, and when weight loss surgery patients can’t eat after their bariatric surgery, lack of these nutrients can have serious and potentially fatal consequences.
The most severe of these is thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency after obesity surgery. This causes a disease sometimes referred to as “bariatric beriberi”. Bariatric beriberi can have a range of dangerous effects, the worst of which is Wernicke encephalopathy (WE), a condition which needs immediate treatment to prevent death or permanent brain injury. Patients with Wernicke’s encephalopathy are confused, have abnormal eye movements, and lose their sense of balance.
Any physician caring for a patient who has had bariatric weight loss surgery—gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or other surgery to make the stomach smaller—is required to know of the risk of Wernicke encephalopathy and the fact that immediate treatment is required to prevent permanent injury.
A doctor who is caring for a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass patient who has the symptoms of “bariatric beriberi” or Wernicke’s encephalopathy is required to get his patient treatment immediately. Failure to do so is medical malpractice.
Contact Us Right Away
If you or a loved one has been dealing with the devastating effects of Wernicke's Encephalopathy, you have a lot to worry about right now: whether the patient is going to recover; how to pay the bills; what happens if the injury is permanent. We understand that finding a lawyer may be way down the list of things you need to do.
But just as there were serious consequences when the doctor failed to diagnose thiamine deficiency on time, there are serious consequences for delay in contacting a lawyer who knows how to handle these cases. Witnesses move away, evidence is lost, and the time for filing suit may run out.