Super obese v/s super-super obese – Slim chance of winning the classification war

  • Posted on: April 20, 2023

An obese young boy and his father approached a bariatric surgeon for weight-loss surgery. Considering the boy’s BMI, the surgeon, one of the first ones to perform bariatric surgery in India, classified him as super obese and performed sleeve gastrectomy.

Unfortunately, the patient suffered post-operative complications and two more surgeries were performed. Third surgery was also required but the boy’s father opted for DAMA and shifted his young ward to another hospital.

The complications took a serious turn and proved to be fatal – the lad died at the second hospital.

His father was evidently in an agonizing state of mind. He sued the surgeon. Many allegations were made, but one main allegation was that the boy’s BMI put him in a ‘super-super obese’ category, and not ‘super obese’ as categorized by the surgeon. A wrong procedure was performed because of this wrong classification which led to his boy’s death, claimed the aggrieved father.

The Commission observed that three independent experts from State Medical Council ruled out negligence. Citing medical literature on bariatric surgeries, the Commission further observed that ‘super obese’ was simply a subset of ‘super-super obese’ classification. Sleeve gastrectomy was the correct weight-loss surgery for patients belonging to this category.

The Commission conclusively observed that patient’s father was explained about risks and benefits of the surgery at every step, and an informed high-risk consent was also obtained by the surgeon.

The doctor sighed a breath of relief as the Commission dismissed the case.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 26th August, 2022.