A woman who was left fighting for her life after gastric bypass surgery went badly wrong has been awarded £35,000 medical negligence compensation. Rachel Benefer, a 28 year old mother from Cleethorpes, spent two weeks in intensive care and needed two emergency operations after a surgeon failed to properly close a small incision. Ms Benefer wanted the operation after her weight increased to over 19 stone. Keyhole surgery was carried out by the NHS at Hull and East Riding Classic Hospital in 2007.
Q: What is a gastric band?
A: An inflatable band that sits around the top of the stomach. Inflation of the band narrows the stomach, limiting it’s capacity to take food and increasing the feeling of fullness. This effect leads to weight loss.
Rachel Benefer’s operation seemed successful, however the surgeon failed to close an incision. That omission led to the patient developing a hernia blocking her small bowel. She ended up with acute peritonitis, an inflammation of the abdomen wall, and spent five weeks in hospital, including 11 days on a ventilator and having to undergo a tracheotomy. She sued Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust for gastric bypass compensation and was awarded a £35,000 out-of-court settlement.
‘When I came out of the coma I couldn’t walk, I was confused, I didn’t know who anyone was and I was hallucinating,’ the mother of two told the Grimsby Telegraph. ‘I kept asking my family what had happened and my memory is very patchy.’ She explained that she had struggled to lose weight following a back injury and being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which affects her hormones and caused her to pile on the pounds.
‘People think having a gastric bypass is an easy way out, but I had thought about it and had tried everything to lose weight, including hypnotherapy,’ she said. ‘When I was at 23 stones I was just a mess, I was depressed and also stopped working as a carer because I couldn’t get about, I became a recluse.’
Photo: Phalinn Ooi