Allegations of unnecessary surgeries, unsanitary conditions and medical mistakes have prompted former employees and patients to file a lawsuit against a popular weight loss center in Los Angeles. The clinic performs Lap-Band procedures, and is allegedly responsible for the wrongful death of at least five patients.
The clinic reportedly scheduled 10,000 Lap-Band procedures in the first 15 months they were in operation. Former employees of the company say that during that time, several mistakes were made and shortcuts were taken in order to generate a higher profit.
In a specified case, a woman came in for the Lap-Band procedure. During the course of the surgery, is it said that the oxygen machine was accidentally turned off and the tube supplying a pain killer to the patient was displaced and ended up dripping onto the floor. Furthermore, instead of properly attending to the patient's dangerously low blood pressure, the anesthesiologist assumed the equipment was simply malfunctioning.
When the surgery was over, the woman stopped breathing. For 15 minutes, doctors did nothing. After paramedics were eventually notified, one of the clinic owners instructed the anesthesiologist to delete the 15-minute gap in the report.
Before the clinic could be investigated following the patient's death, the suit also alleges that employees were instructed to replace malfunctioning equipment with working equipment from another clinic.
If these allegations are proven to be true, the clinic's owners could face serious consequences. In addition to the death of this one patient, four others have died after visiting the clinic. At least 11 other patients have claimed they received unnecessary procedures or had their insurance company billed for procedures that were never performed.
A person or company who is responsible for causing the wrongful death of another person should certainly be held liable for damages. While a financial award cannot bring a loved one back, it can go a long way in preventing the same recklessness and carelessness from happening to another innocent victim.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Plaintiffs allege 'gruesome conditions' at Lap-Band clinics," Stuart Pfeifer, Jan. 17, 2012