A multi-million dollar award has just been announced following what attorneys called a botched surgery.
A judge ordered Tripler Army Medical Center to pay $4.25 million to Christina Mettias, a former Hawaii woman who underwent gastric bypass surgery there in September 2010.
Mettias’ attorneys filed a malpractice lawsuit against the center, claiming the failed surgery left her struggling with lifelong consequences.
Complications, which included fluid buildup and respiratory failure, prompted multiple trips to the emergency room. Mettias now lives with chronic pain, food intolerance, incontinence and fatigue.
A decision was made after a trial in federal court that lasted two and a half weeks.
According to Michael Livingston, Mettias’ attorney, the judge “found that in fact the patient in this case, Christina, should not have been offered the surgery, but he went further and found that even if you look at the issue of informed consent, the process that was used in this case was not adequate.”
Doctors say in order for a patient to be cleared for the surgery, he or she must meet two requirements. Attorneys say Mettias did not meet either one.
They also say Tripler failed to give her adequate information on what to expect.
“People who are struggling with obesity, which is an extremely difficult problem, they’re looking for solution,” said Livingston, “and bariatric surgery is too easily misperceived as a quick and easy solution to what is a very difficult problem.”
Mettias, who is slightly taller than five feet, had already lost 34 pounds before the procedure and weighed 189.5 pounds on the day of the surgery and her BMI was approximately 36.
The U.S. attorney’s office told Tripler it is reviewing the ruling to see if there are any grounds for appeal.