New doctor forces adjustment of lapband to cause weight loss – against patient’s wishes

Vee writes:

Here’s my story.

Twelve years ago I had a lap band. I lost weight at the time but regained all of it after a subsequent pregnancy. Since that time I have yoyo dieted and after some informative reading and bad experiences, I decided that I never want to diet again. My GP at the time was fine with this and happy to manage me, at my current weight of 308lb, free under Medicare.

Unfortunately my old GP retired suddenly. My options for free health care became extremely limited. I joined a local practice and on my first consultation was promptly told I need to have my lap band adjusted. It couldn’t possibly be working if I was the weight I am (not true) and that my free healthcare was conditional on my getting it reduced and losing weight. I told him that I thought this was ill advised because I was sure that I would regain the weight and that yo-yo dieting is worse than maintain a high weight. He insisted. I have serious health problems which need ongoing attention. I was enraged and looked up the medical ethics for Australian doctors but in the end, I was forced to comply. The end result was three months on a liquid diet and a 15kg loss which I promptly put back on and then some.

The result? I had benign fatty liver disease which has now converted to active fatty liver disease because of that weight loss. I am now a diabetic which I wasn’t before this loss and which evolved immediately following it. I’m 37 years old and completely enraged that someone forced me to do something against my will that resulted in me being much sicker than I was before hand. I am angry that someone thinks they have more right to dictate what I do with my body than I do…I’m just angry.

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  1. Shinobi

     /  August 30, 2010

    URGH, I’d like to put that doctor on a liquid diet permanently. And i would like to do that by punching him in the face a lot.

    I’m so sorry, I hope you have some kind of legal recourse for this? You deserve to be compensated.

  2. Lise

     /  August 31, 2010

    That doctor was lying. And a disgusting excuse for a human being, too. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

    Medicare in Australia is NOT dependent upon your compliance with what any doctor says, and any doctor that tries this is either so ignorant I wouldn’t trust them as a doctor, or so unethical I wouldn’t trust them at all.

    If you can afford to do so, it may be worth seeking legal advice. Lots of places which deal with compensation for injury have free initial consultations, though you should ask around for recommendations for non-dodgy law firms. Even if the initial complaint has to be made to the state/territory health complaints section, a lawyer’s advice and support can help make sure everything is by the book. And many are no win – no fee, though again you have to read the fine print and so on.

    I hope that this doctor rots.

  3. lilacsigil

     /  September 1, 2010

    Lise is right – Medicare is not dependent on you doing anything the doctor says, and financial coercion is illegal. Here is a good description of how to make a complaint against a doctor in Victoria (my state); but the AHPRA contact information towards the end is valid for anywhere in Australia.

    Good luck.


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