Barix Clinic Review By Ann Arbor Malpractice Lawyer

As an Ann Arbor area medical malpractice lawyer, I have become familiar with a number of bariatric surgery centers in the area and throughout the State of Michigan.  I have filed a number of lawsuits on behalf of patients and their families against weight loss clinics and bariatric surgeons for injuries and death arising from these surgeries.  Men and women often choose their surgeon and surgery center based upon seminars, presentations, and glossy marketing materials, but the fact is that not all bariatric centers are the same and patients should ask critical questions before making their selection.

 I  currently have a medical malpractice lawsuit pending against the Barix Clinic at the Forest Health Medical Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  The surgeon in the case was Dr. John Schram, M.D.  There have been other lawsuits filed against this clinic but  settlements have been kept confidential from public disclosure.  The federal government had also sued the Barix Clinic under the American With Disabilities Act and that case was settled.  My current case has been appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Forest Health Medical Center and the physicians involved in the care of the patient.

When researching the best facility for your weight loss surgery, you should know the following information:

First, make sure that the bariatric clinic you are considering is certified as  a “Center of Excellence” by the American Society of Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).   Centers who have received this designation must meet specific criteria on staffing experience, number of surgeries performed, and have on site inspections.  The center must also report their outcomes to the organization for review and analysis.

Second, remember that presentations and seminars for “informational purposes”  are really marketing presentations to get you to have your surgery done at the hospital or surgical center.  These are actually just professional PowerPoint presentations, usually created by the marketing team or an outside agency.  Look at these the same way you would as if you were attending a sales presentation for a time share vacation package.

Third, ask questions about the surgeons themselves and the other doctors that we will following you as an in-patient after the procedure.  Learn about their credentials and background from searching the internet.  Don’t just  rely on the center’s own materials and website, or the friendliness of the surgeon at the presentation.  Don’t be bashful to ask them about current or past lawsuits brought by patients for medical malpractice.  Remember, it’s your life and health at stake.

Fourth, remember that this is an invasive surgery under anesthesia.  A number of things can go very wrong during the surgery itself or due to post-operative complications.  Death and subsequent surgeries are very possible risks of the procedures.  Ask the center and surgeon about how their complication rates compare to other centers in the area.  Get written proof to support what they are telling you.

My  current lawsuit pending against the Barix Clinic in Ypsilanti, Michigan alleges that the patient was not properly diagnosed with a bowel obstruction after surgery and was discharged home.  She later went to another hospital and underwent a surgery to repair the condition, but complications arose in that surgery which resulted in a perforated bowel.  She spent several months in the ICU fighting for her life.  The medical bills were in excess of $900,000.00.   The Defendant Forest Health Medical Center and its surgeon, Dr. John Schram, M.D. deny any negligence in the case. 

In my current case, I have learned several things that may give potential patients concerns about having surgery at the Barix Clinic in Michigan.  I have listed below a number of things that you may want to know about this clinic from my current pending case.  However, these may have changed since my cases was filed  so you should ask about them if you make an appointment or attend a seminar:

1.    The Barix Clinic at Forest Health does not have an emergency department like a regular hospital.  There are no emergency room physicians available to treat an emergent medical condition after hours.  The patient would have to be rushed by ambulance to another local Ann Arbor area hospital.

2.     The Barix Clinic does not have a CT Scan to check for post-operative complications, like a bowel obstruction or post-surgical leak.  The patient would have to be taken to another facility for this type of study.

3.    Read the fine print in the papers you sign before your operation.  In my case, the fine print says that the surgeons are not employed by Forest Health Medical Center and are independent contractors.  The facility is trying to avoid liability by claiming that it did not employ the doctors who worked there and treated the patient.  Your paperwork may be different but you will want to read it carefully.

4.    There are may not be physicians or surgeons at the facility after hours to see patients.  Most hospitals have medical residents and interns to round on patients during the night and to report to the attending surgeon if there are any complications or concerns.

5.  The facility has an after hours hotline to call with any problems, but your call may not be returned by the surgeon who did your surgery.
Most major Michigan hospitals have their own bariatric centers, like the University of Michigan and William Beaumont Hospital.  If you are concerned about undergoing a major surgery at a surgical center instead of a major hospital, you may want to check out those bariatric programs as well. 

The bottom line is that you need to research your surgeon and facility before undergoing weight loss surgery.  You may feel comfortable with Barix at Forest Health in Michigan after doing your due diligence, but don’t be afraid to ask the important questions.  Your life and future health depend on it.

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