Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Strong Opening Drive for Team Weis

No shortage of drama at Day 1 of the Crewcut Charlie Weis trial. In his opening statement, attorney Michael Mone, pictured above, said that Weis decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery in part out of fear his morbid obesity could hurt his chances of becoming a head coach. Mone then asserted that two surgeons involved in Weis' gastric bypass surgery disregarded warning signs that Weis was bleeding internally after the June 14, 2002 operation.

William Dailey, attorney for doctors Charles Ferguson and Richard Hodin, countered that Weis' internal bleeding was not unusual for this type of surgery. Hodin said Weis was briefed about the dangers of the surgery, in which five to 10% of patients have serious complications and one out of 100 dies. Dailey said Weis was so desperate to lose weight that he once took the dangerous and now-banned diet drug Phen-fen.

Weis' surgery was on a Friday, and Jennifer Wilson, below, Weis' weekend nurse while he was in intensive care, was called to testify. Wilson said she suspected Weis was bleeding internally on Saturday morning, in part because of the amount of blood coming out of a tube that was draining his stomach. At Wilson's urging, doctors performed a barium swallow test on Sunday. Radiologists were able to detect from that test that the surgical staples were not tight enough to prevent leaks, and Hodin operated immediately to repair the leak on the already severely ill Weis. Weis was finally released from the hospital on July 5, 2002.

To break down the medical end of the Weis trial, we would like to bring in our expert, Gary Gaffney, M.D., University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He is currently Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Iowa College of Medicine. He also operates Steroid Nation, a weblog that examines the use of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs in sports, youth and society.

"One of the sutures leaked. As pointed out in the accounts, that's not good. Bleeding and infection resulted. Could the doctors have determined there was a leak? ... The medical records will be introduced as evidence. It would be interesting to see what Weis' parameters were during those days. ... A key here will be the interpretation of the medical records and the nurse's notes."

Gary has also provided a medical perspective on obesity:

"Although not a surgeon, I spent my medical school time, while on surgery, in the gastric surgery service of Dr. Ed Mason at the University of Iowa. Dr. Mason was a pioneer in surgical treatments of obesity. Our team spent a great deal of time in surgery performing these 'gastroplasty' procedures, as Dr. Mason referred to them, or taking care of post-operative patients, and patients with past surgical procedures who experienced complications.

"The surgical treatment of obesity was developed as physicians looked at the terrible consequences of obesity. Complications include conditions like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease and many others. Morbid obesity looms as a significant and costly source of morbidity and mortality today.

"Obesity was defined as weight for a particular height, however now is defined as a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30. The BMI is person's body weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (i.e., wt/ht) The BMI is more highly correlated with body fat than any other indicator of height and weight.

"Generally to qualify for surgery, a patient's BMI is either:
1.) Above 40 (which is at least 100 pounds overweight) or
2.) 35 with serious complication of obesity. Such serious life-threatening complications include diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea.

"Coach Weis was at least 340 pounds at the time of his surgery. His father suffered two heart attacks, at 49 and 56, the second causing his death.

"Clearly, at age 50, over 340 pounds, with a highly significant family history of cardiac diseases, and cardiac death, Weis faced extremely serious medical consequences if he didn't take action. This statement can be made, even without knowledge of the coach's blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and other medical clues for potential disaster."

Our thanks to Gary and to Hester Graphics, who helped design our Weis trial logo.
Previous: Legal Perspective on Weis Trial.


Anonymous said...

Much debate about this trial. First is the 1 anastomosis v. 2 anastomosis theory. The diagram in the courtroom presents one anastomosis (small bowel hookup to the stomach). I believe there were 2 anatomosis (or is that anastomosi??). That would mean a surgeon on the grassy knoll. Thus more bleeding and undetected bleeding.

It's a conspiracy. Maybe Tom Brady saw the surgeon with the umbrella on the knoll?

Anonymous said...

So how did the surgery fail other than Weis didn't obviously didn't follow his post surgery instructions and diet. It appers to me that he is just a big as he was before the surgery. From someone who had Gastric Bypass surgery 13 months ago I can tell you it's no magic operation. You still need to work very hard at keeping the weight off. If you go back to your old habits the weight comes right back. Seems to me that if I had suffered the complications that Weis has you can damn well bet that I would not allow myself to be in the shape he is now in. I am happy and proud to say that I have lost over 128 lbs and have managed to keep it off by exercise and proper diet.
So UP YOURS CHARLIE WEIS why don't you try puting a little work into it and you to could be in shape and living well.

Wooderson said...

Hey Anonymous (#2), you fat fuck, why don't you read the facts of the case before you pass any judgements. You're no better than Charlie for going to get the surgery, so don't try and make yourself feel better by tryign to put down someone who garners far mroe respect in this world than you do, regardless of size.

Charlie never made it out of the hospital, they found him having complications while he was still under their care. That means he was still being fed according to the doctors' orders, and he hadn't even been taken off the machines yet. Check your facts before you pontificate, tubbo.

And I call you that as someone who lost 100lbs without the need for surgery, unlike your lazy ass. Glass houses, son.

Anonymous said...

doesn't that doctor look like Jerry Springer...or is it just me?

Anonymous said...

One thing to consider is that the insurance company is willing to take the matter to trial. As such, I believe the insurance company strongly believes it will win. Based on the "standard of care" review, I do not think the doctors were negligent. The ONLY way Weis will tin is if the jury disagrees with the doctor taking off for vacation the next day (which was OK) and expects the doctor to act beyond the "standard of care" (even though the legal standard is just that). If the jury wants to throw Weis a bone, they will, but that is the ONLY way he'll win. As it stands right now, the only contention really is whether 30 hours between the first and second surgery made any difference...but the doctors had a reason to wait. No telling the outcome would have been better (or worse) had he had the second surgery 10 hours after the first.... Weis will lose... and the fact that he has not followed up with what he should be doing and has gained back a lot of weight will make him look bad.

Anonymous said...

I also thought of Jerry Springer when I saw the photo of Charlie's attorney. I figured that can mean only one thing - before this trial is over there's gonna be strippers and catfights.