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06/02/2014

Surgeons Know Bad Surgeons When They See Them

surgeonsThe surgeon told the Weindel family that the operation had gone well. He had taken Dale Weindel’s stomach and cut it into two, and rerouted his small intestines so that all the food Weindel ate would now pass through the smaller portion of his stomach. He had given Weindel a “gastric bypass” operation, the best and, some would say, only effective treatment for morbid obesity. Within several days, however, Weindel took a turn for the worse. He developed a pocket of infection – an abscess – in his abdomen. The infection spread despite his doctor’s best efforts to treat it, and bacteria soon infiltrated his lungs causing pneumonia. Three weeks after the operation, Weindel was dead at the age of 38.

Was it bad luck that killed Dave Weindel or surgical incompetence?

There’s an old saying in medicine: “The operation was a success, but the patient died.” It mocks surgeons who get so caught up in the technical challenges of a given procedure that they lose sight of whether their patients are healthy enough to benefit from the procedure. But the phrase is not always used satirically… (Read more and view comments at Forbes)

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