Death by Sleeve...

on 4/21/13 11:13 am - WA
My cousin in law was over last night & she was telling me how her aunt just died on Wednesday from complications of the gastric sleeve procedure. Now I am only repeating what was told to me. Her Aunt lived in Kentucky where the procedure was done. She had followed her two week pre-op diet & was doing great.

Her surgery had been rescheduled twice before the surgeon could get her in. During the procedure the surgeon accidentally cut her spleen, she was bleeding a lot. She was not able to get up in recovery & walk around which caused her to develop a clot, which lead to her heart & she had a stroke. That happened twice, 2 clots, 2 strokes. The 2nd stroke killed her.
Rightfully so, my cousin in law is devastated. I found myself at only 2 months post-op wanting to defend the sleeve. I feel terrible that she lost her Aunt but she was also making some general comments about how she would never have WLS & people that do it are foolish. Ummm hello, standing right in front of you, me, yes I just had WLS. Anyways, I let her ramble on & on because I'm aware that her anger comes from a place of hurt. I get it. She kept making comments like "I'd rather be fat than die to be skinny." I quickly reminded her that being fat will kill her & that because of her weight she's probably already lost 20 years off of her life.
I found myself biting my tongue a lot last night.

I don't know if her Aunt had underlying health issues or not but I do know that 48 years old is way too young to die. Per my cousin there were no other health issues, her Aunt had always been very healthy.

I've had great success with my sleeve in the last 8 weeks & my recovery was easier than I'd ever imagined it to be. I'd do it again if I had to.

There are risks involved in this procedure (as in any), some risks can lead to death. Do your research people!!! Make sure your surgeon is qualified. Make sure he or she has done their fair share of WLS. Check stats, ask 50 questions if you feel the need to.
For all I know her surgeon has done more than 7,000 WLS's?? I don't know.. Accidents happen. That's the reality of things.

This is the first time I've heard of anyone dying from this procedure. I was taken by surprise when my cousin told me all of this last night. I believe the odds of dying from this type of procedure are less than a 3% chance but the risks are still there & they are very, very real.

RIP- Denise...

Thank you for listening,

on 4/21/13 11:22 am
VSG on 04/02/13

I think the risks with the sleeve are even lower than that.  cutting into the spleen is a rather large blunder IMO ... i dont even remember reading that on the list of possible complications.I've been bed ridden for long periods of time with a broken back and other problems, luckily i managed to avoid any clots through meds and in-bed physio.   I hope your cousin can find some closure with the tragedy. 


HW: 407   Final Appointment : 376   Pre-op Diet Start: 367   SW: 350 (Apr2/2013) Add me on MFP


on 4/21/13 12:00 pm
As a nurse, there are risks to any procedure. As a person, there are risks to walking down the street!
I'm sorry for the loss of your family member and that your cousin talked bad about VSG!
on 4/21/13 12:24 pm - Pasadena, CA
VSG on 03/17/10 with

I'm sorry for the loss of your family member.  My best suggestion is to just listen and offer your condolences and try your hardest to remember this is not about the VSG in general and most especially not about your and your sleeve.  Your cousin in law is VERY VERY freshly bereaved and is trying to make sense of her loss .  She is in no condition to listen to facts and figures about the safety of VSG surgery -- she's casting about for someone or something to blame for the loss of her beloved aunt.  I know it's super hard, but the kindest thing you can do is keep biting your tongue and just offer your support and sympathy.

And congratulations on your success so far!

I'm 5'2" and 55 years old.  VSG 3/17/10


on 4/21/13 12:31 pm


This is just heartbreaking. Please accept my condolences.

but, you are correct that sometimes bad things happen in life, and that's the reality of life.

I would certainly certainly think that death associated with a sleeve is very very unusual.

But death is always a risk, with almost any kind of surgery, especially ones that involve general anesthesia, I would think.

The truth is, the kind of injury she got could happen with probably many other kinds of abdominal surgeries, not just the sleeve.

I have a very dear nonobese friend who was terrified when I told her that I planned WLS -- she was afraid that I would die. I explained to her that, without the surgery, I was afraid that I would die. We take risks in life -- surgery is a risk -- hopefully we take these risks with full knowledge of the potential dangers...this is why WLS is usually only for those of us who truly have serious health complications and risks from obesity ...

Again, condolences to your  cousin in law...

on 4/21/13 1:06 pm - houston, TX
VSG on 05/17/12


Your cousins aunt had surgery and then had complications which sadly turned out to be fatal. the sleeve did not kill her, hell probably not even the doc cutting into  her spleen killed her either. it is just a string of unfortunate events that took place in just the right order to end a life. If you are fat you can die from all of those things you mentioned. Your cousin is in a very bad place and you do not have to take any of her comments to heart. it is not necessary nor will it benefit you nor her because you are at different minds sets. 

on 4/21/13 2:03 pm
This happened to someone I am very close to but the person, thankfully, did not die.
This is a surgeon error & if it were my family member, I would be interviewing attorneys.
on 4/21/13 2:29 pm - AL
VSG on 02/19/13
I work in surgery and there is always a risk. That is why they tell you this. I've seen people come in for a hemorrhoid and die from pre existing heart condition. Unfortunately people who are over weight have lots of pre existing health conditions. Now, the fact that the surgeon nicked her spleen, not good but he should have repaired it then and there. It's very sad but it happens we all take a risk. Thankfully, 98% do just fine.
on 4/21/13 2:41 pm

This is very sad and unfortunately a complication that was unforseen.  Your cousin in-law was hurt, angry etc and her words came from her emotions.   Do you know where in KY she had her surgery?  I live in KY and am considering surgery.  Thanks.

on 4/21/13 3:29 pm - WA
I took everything she said with a grain of salt. She's in pain & she's hurting. I should've just bit my tongue the whole time...

Thank you all for the kind condolences, I will pass them along to her. She'll appreciate them very much.

I did ask who her surgeon was but my cousin wasn't sure. I'll ask her to ask someone else in her family that might know. Not to crucify him or her because ALL doctors make mistakes. I put everything in Gods hands ultimately. My surgeons worst day could be tomorrow or your surgeons worst day could be a week from now or they've already had their worst day or their worst day is unfortunately your day. None of us are promised tomorrow. It's just unfortunate that someone's Mother & Wife lost their life. I don't know that I should put his name on here? I feel obligated to but at the same time I'm torn.

I know that I signed the papers that said my doctor was not responsible if I died or if I was on TPN for the rest of my life. I signed my life away, we all have to.

I have a sick sense of humor and before I went into my procedure I said to my Mom & to the nurse that if I die just burn me & pour me into something pretty. My Mom asked "Can it be pretty & cheap?" The nurse thought we were crazy, I don't think that she found our humor funny at all. Everyone's different, I'm okay with that.

This woman that passed away, Denise, was a nurse so I'm guessing she knew all of the risks. The hospital that she worked for posted a picture on Facebook of at least 60+ people holding hands in a circle around the helicopter pad at the hospital, they were all praying that Denise came home. It was very touching...