My 600-lb Life surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan is arguably the most likable person on the hit reality TV show, helping morbidly obese patients turn their lives around through bariatric surgery. While Dr. Now, as the medical expert is fondly referred to in the TLC series, has garnered all but respect and acclaim for his work on the show, reports have recently emerged that the surgeon was previously involved in a tricky lawsuit over alleged medical malpractice.
According to a RadarOnline report, Dr. Now faced a massive lawsuit from one of his patients back in 2012. During that time, Dr. Now and his anesthesiologist were sued over alleged malpractice by a woman who claimed that the two medical professionals were responsible for leaving a 6.69-inch piece of tubing inside her during gastric sleeve surgery. The plaintiff, Michelle Park, alleged that the tubing was inside her for 22 months before it was discovered and subsequently removed.
The lawsuit against Dr. Now and his anesthesiologist stated that the “tube punctured Mrs. Park’s colon, requiring the surgical removal of a part of her colon.” Due to the unwanted leftover from the surgery, Park claimed that she suffered significant physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, and disfigurement. Park also claimed that the medical malpractice caused her to lose her earning capacity and incur unwanted and unnecessary medical expenses.
Interestingly, a lawsuit of such gravity would have significantly affected the medical expert when it was filed, especially since the first season of My 600-lb Life would have been airing at that time. While the allegations of malpractice were very grave and potentially damaging to the medical expert, however, Park opted to dismiss her lawsuit in 2013. No details were ever released about the case, though speculations suggested that the trial’s sudden dismissal seemed indicative of a confidential mediation and settlement.
The RadarOnline report was able to get a statement from Dr. Now himself regarding the 2012 lawsuit. True to his character onscreen, Dr. Now stated that the dismissal of the lawsuit was simply because he was not at fault for leaving the tube inside the patient. This particular aspect of the procedure appears to have been confirmed by the lawsuit itself, as it was standard practice for the tubings used in a gastric sleeve surgery to be under the responsibility of the anesthesiologist.
“The lawsuit against me was dismissed because I was not the one who left the tube.”
While the dismissal of the case against Dr. Now and his anesthesiologist has all the signs of a settlement, there remains no record of such a thing happening. Thus, speculations are high that whatever transpired between the filing of the medical malpractice case and its dismissal must have happened behind closed doors. Since then, the plaintiff has been pretty much under the radar as well, releasing no statements about why the case was ultimately dropped.
The 2012 medical malpractice case was not the first time that Dr. Now has faced legal action regarding the side effects of gastric sleeve surgery. Back in 2007, Dr. Now also faced malpractice charges after one of his patients, Tina Shepherd of Houston, died allegedly as a result of the surgery, according to a Chron report. Tina weighed 520 pounds before surgery, but she ultimately passed away due to complications of liver and blood poisoning.
Despite Shepherd’s tragic death, however, Jill Wiggins of the Texas Medical Board revealed that there were no disciplinary actions filed against the bariatric surgeon. Angie Flores, the spokesperson for Renaissance Hospital, where Shepherd underwent surgery, also stated that all who undergo gastric sleeve surgery are aware of the risks that come with the operation.
“No one who decides to have bariatric surgery doesn’t have that (death) in the back of their mind, and we all understand the risks and you have to be pretty much willing to do anything to have that surgery.”
[Featured Image by TLC]