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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

“The biggest mistake of my life”: A gastric bypass surgery lawsuit

He now suffers great pain while standing on the sidelines, coaching football—but he was at death’s door, and he’s alive—and in court, suing his surgeons. His 350-pound bulk had hurt his chances of becoming a head coach—and risked an early death. So, after talking with doctors at a Harvard teaching hospital, Charlie Weis, the former offensive coach for the New England Patriots football team, agreed to gastric bypass surgery.

The surgical staples that sectioned off a small part of his stomach had not been tight enough to prevent leaks, and internal bleeding was filling his abdomen and compressing his lungs. It took his doctors and nurses almost two days to discover the bleeding. “He spent days at death’s door,” according to his lawyer, and spent three weeks in the hospital. He has suffered permanent nerve damage to his right foot that makes it difficult to walk and stand. Weis calls the surgery “the biggest mistake of my life.”

Advice: Surgery is inherently dangerous; keep that in mind when considering optional surgery. Find out your alternatives by getting a second opinion—from a doctor who is not a surgeon.

Read about another gastric bypass patient, or read Scott Allen’s article in today’s Boston Globe.

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