Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lawsuit blames woman's death on gastric procedure

The family of a woman who died two weeks after undergoing bariatric surgery in 2005 has filed a lawsuit against her doctors and a Houston hospital.

The suit connected to the death of Freda Brantley, 48, is the latest lawsuit in recent months to follow the death of a local bariatric patient.

Lawyers for the Houston woman's family said she was discharged from a hospital after the June 6, 2005, vertical-banded gastroplasty without the appropriate treatment. She died June 21, 2005, from kidney failure, according to the lawsuit.

"After vomiting for two weeks, essentially she was malnourished, and that ultimately led to her death," said Todd Kelly, a lawyer for the Brantley family.

The suit, filed Monday, seeks unspecified damages against Dr. Nisar Ahmed, Dr. Beryl Harberg and Park Plaza Hospital. Ahmed did not return calls seeking comment, and Harberg could not be reached.

"While patient privacy laws prohibit us from speaking directly to this case, we will vigorously defend the integrity of our care, quality and services," Park Plaza Hospital officials said in a statement.

The hospital was designated a 2007 American Society of Bariatric Surgeons Center of Excellence. In March, the mother of a Houston woman who died a year after undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2004 filed a malpractice suit against Houston surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan and Houston Community Hospital. The suit followed the March death of Renee Williams, an 841-pound Austin woman who died from a massive heart attack two weeks after gastric bypass surgery.

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