I haven't talked about the fact that I have a Lap-Band here, and I really didn't want to. It's just not that interesting to people who don't have or need one. I've had issues with it the last two weeks and that's part of the reason I haven't updated. I'm going to throw the letter up that I wrote to my doctor and call it an entry. It will explain a little about it and show you what a fun day I had yesterday. I faxed this letter to him this morning. I haven't heard from him yet. Names have been changed to protect the guilty and in case I want to file a lawsuit later.
Dear Dr. Blah-Blah,
I am extremely unhappy with the events on, and leading up to, August 7, 2006. After faxing you the attached letter on that date, your nurse, Anastasia Beaverhausen, called me to let me know that you would be meeting me at the Fill Center for my appointment at 11:00 to view the fluoroscope pictures and speak with me about the problems I’ve been experiencing for the past four months. She talked with me for several minutes about the possible causes of my problems which I greatly appreciated.
After arriving at the Fill Center for my appointment at 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes early for your convenience, the front desk clerk and initial check-in tech advised me that you were going to personally administer the unfill, view the fluoroscope pictures and speak with me. The front desk clerk called Anastasia Beaverhausen on the phone to confirm this, and then spoke with at least one other person regarding whether you would be there or not. What I heard from their conversation was that you had been at the Fill Center at 9:30 to see another patient that morning, and that person had been 20-30 minutes late for her appointment. The clerk told me that when you were told that I would be there at 11:00 to see you, you told them, “I don’t have another appointment, and I’m not coming back.”
The front desk clerk asked me if I still wanted to get unfilled. I responded that, yes, I did. It was a necessity at that point, not an option, considering I couldn’t even get liquids down, a fact that everyone involved should have been aware of.
I was taken into the fluoroscope room and was asked by Penelope Whippersnapper, the same person who has done my procedures the last three times, what problems I was experiencing. She expressed concern and agreed that it was unusual that I was feeling so tight and having problems with only .5cc in my band. I told her that I could not keep liquids or foods of any kind down before late evening and that I had twice vomited a dark brown, foul-tasting substance this morning. The fluoroscope tech (a male) said, “That’s just bile.” I told them that I wasn’t aware that bile was brown because it has always been a yellowish color when I’ve thrown it up before. The other female in the room who later gave me the barium said, “As long as it didn’t look like coffee grounds, it’s okay.” Penelope suggested that I might want to get my gallbladder checked out by another physician and proceeded with the unfill procedure.
After aspirating everything from my band twice and checking the amount of fill, she said that there was 1.2cc in my band and not the .5cc stated in my records. She said that “someone” must have not aspirated and made a statement about it being “bad math.” She removed .7cc from my band and left in .5cc. She said, “It’s really .5cc this time.” The male tech in the room stated that he had seen a round object, possibly a pill, flush through the opening in my band when the fluid was initially removed and I swallowed the barium. Penelope instructed me to go to the waiting room and drink water. I did so and left the facility after approximately 20 minutes.
I consider “someone’s neglect to aspirate” or their “bad math” to be a serious error, neglectful, and totally unacceptable. My health and the integrity of my band may have been seriously compromised. The effects I suffered over the last two weeks because of this neglect and/or error were not pleasant, not to mention the mental anguish I suffered thinking about what could be wrong, what would have to be done to correct it, how much it would cost, and how I would pay for it.
I paid $15,000 for this surgery and subsequent care. While that may not be a lot of money to you, it’s a hell of a lot to me, and I expect better for it. Four months of the one year of included aftercare has been spent mostly getting unfilled (supposedly).
I do not expect to pay for any adjustments after my one-year mark, October 28, 2006. I expect the included aftercare period to be extended through at least February 28, 2007.
I wanted you to be aware of what happened so that steps can be taken to ensure none of it ever happens again, and I’d like to know if these events were reported to you by the staff at the Fill Center.