Debt, Pain, and More Surgery: The True Cost of Gastric Banding Procedure Touted as a Weight-Loss Solution | CBC News (2023)

Tongueklein, 49,She decided to have gastric band surgery at a private clinic in Toronto two years ago because she had hit a rock bottom in her life. I was depressed, unemployed and really wanted to lose weight.

But instead of shedding a few pounds, the mother-of-two was left with a $12,000 debt she can't pay back and a shooting pain in her side that eventually required a second hospital operation to remove the silicone band that encircled her. .of the stomach, which should curb your appetite.

A newMercadoresearch revealsfewpainful experience is not unique.

The clinic he didfewOperation,thin ribbon, no longer offers the procedure. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons temporarily suspended its former chief surgeon's license last April after years of customer complaints.

But the financier associated with the clinic, Credit Medical, is still busy raising money from clients likeA little bit, who took out high-interest loans to pay for the procedure.

Because of the many complications associated with gastric banding, including erosion, bleeding, slipping, and blockages, 2,363 of the devices in public hospitals in Canada, excluding Quebec, have had to be surgically removed since 2010, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Each move costs between $3,000 and $14,000, meaning taxpayers can pay up to $33 million.

$16,000 loan for surgeries

A little bitI would like to know all this in 2015, when a blow is noticedthin ribbonAdvertisingcaught his attention.

I thought my life would change the day I had surgery.- Barb Litt Andere

It featured former customers giving enthusiastic testimonials.

“Say goodbye to plus sizes. Say goodbye to diet pills, fat burners and meal replacements,” says one woman. "Say goodbye to all diets under the sun."

Another woman's testimony said of the procedure, "You're in, you're out and you're shopping... what could be better?"

A little bitdecided to givethin ribbona call. He spoke to a representative namedAviva, who claimed that theyErasit's not just onethin ribbonemployee but a former customer who lost 30 pounds.

AvivaBefore and after photos were posted on the clinic's website.

Debt, Pain, and More Surgery: The True Cost of Gastric Banding Procedure Touted as a Weight-Loss Solution | CBC News (1)

"And she said... 'Oh yeah, that was the best thing I've ever done.' She moved me a lot."A little bithe said. "I thought my life would change the day I had surgery."

The big problem was the cost: nearly $16,000. Litt had no money. But Slimband quickly got a loan from Credit Medical, which lends Canadians money for cosmetic and bariatric surgeries at private clinics and shares Slimband's director, Michael Scot-Smith.

Litt presented with her sisters for outpatient surgery at the Toronto clinic. Unfolding the band, which is placed around the upper part of the stomach, takes about an hour.

Debt, Pain, and More Surgery: The True Cost of Gastric Banding Procedure Touted as a Weight-Loss Solution | CBC News (2)

After your surgeryA little bitHe said he received very little post-op support from the clinic. There were no follow-up visits to discuss her health or her weight loss progress, she said.

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She initially lost about 25 pounds but regained 15 pounds within a year and a half. And during that time he began to experience severe pain on the side where the ligament was implanted.

SeA little bitWhen she leaned against or bumped into something, she "would double over in pain," she said.

Finally, in August 2016, her GP referred her to abariatricClinic at St. Joseph's Health Center in Hamilton, where she was admitted for aMagenbypass-Operation, an operation that divides the stomach and repositions the small intestine.

The surgeon also removed the gastric band.

"You've had enough of me"

IncludedA little bitHe still expects to pay the monthly installments of his loan for the Slimband procedure at an interest rate of 12.5%. He still owes Credit Medical more than $12,000, but he stopped making payments last spring.

She says she refuses to pay for a program that has failed her.

"I paid $8,000. I had enough. I think they took enough from me.”

Mercadofound about 100 complaints aboutthin ribbonby customers across Canada inWebsitesifRateMDs, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. There are two recurring themes: the gastric band failed and the patients did not feel supportedthin ribbonor its medical director and chief surgeon, Dr. PatricioHey.

Debt, Pain, and More Surgery: The True Cost of Gastric Banding Procedure Touted as a Weight-Loss Solution | CBC News (3)

At least four official complaints have been filedHeyspecifically for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the independent organization that has been monitoring the behavior of physicians across the province since 2010.

One ofExpectationscomes from a mother whose diabetic son died of bacterial meningitis two days after the operation. College results show your child's blood sugar and glucose levelsThey areHe was not adequately monitored after the operation and before discharge, which led to him developing diabetesKetoazidose, a factor that contributed to his death.

The college launched an investigationHeybehavior in 2012.

Debt, Pain, and More Surgery: The True Cost of Gastric Banding Procedure Touted as a Weight-Loss Solution | CBC News (4)

In 2014, while the investigation was still ongoing,thin ribbonsent a memo to say the patientsHeyHe was no longer part of the team. And also,Mercadorevealed that he continued to perform gastric banding surgeries at the Toronto clinic thereafter.

In April 2017, the faculty discoveredHeyblame forProfessional Misconduct. His license to practice medicine was suspended for three months. He is now back as a general surgeon at Scarborough Hospital and based in his general practice in northeast Toronto.

'I'm sorry you feel this way'

Maxine Jeffrey, 25, ex-patient ofHey's, says "it's disgusting" that he still practices medicine.Heyinstalled Jeffrey's gastric band in 2014 but found outI couldDon't hold back food.

HeyHe performed a second band surgery about a year later, which did not solve the problem. It got so bad that Jeffrey couldn't even drink water for 48 hours. This led to emergency surgery in the TorontoHumberRiver Hospital in November 2016 to remove the band.

when Jeffrey calledHey, She says thatErasnot very useful." He was like, 'This bandNO'do not disappoint; You're letting the band down.'"

Jeffrey says she started crying after the call.

We suspect that almost all placed raids will eventually need to be removed for one reason or another.- dr David Urbach, Chief of Surgery, Women's College Hospital of Toronto

Mercadostick withHeyIn his office late last year to ask him if he has anything to say to patients who think he has let them down. His answer: "I'm sorry that you think so." He did not want to answer any further questions.

On his website, thethin ribbonThe clinic states that it will no longer accept new patients, but will support existing ones.

Out ofA little bitstopped paying her outstanding bill, was bombarded with registered letters andE-Mailsfrom Credit Medical threatening your creditworthiness.

medical creditthin ribbonDirector Michael Scot-Smith is a former developer convicted of real estate fraud and sentenced to two years in prison in 1993. In 2000, he was convicted of obtaining bank loans under forgerypretends. IsNOno answers aFrom the marketcomment requests.

A little bithas a warning for others considering weight loss surgery: don't have it done at a private clinic. Go through the public system if you can.

Obesity surgery in the non-aesthetic public web

dr DavidUrbach, chief physician at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, performs what he considers the gold standard of gastric bypass surgerybariatricThe operation.

"We really don't do surgery for cosmetic reasons, we do it for health reasons," he said. "And we offer surgeries for people whose life expectancy would be shortened by obesity."

Debt, Pain, and More Surgery: The True Cost of Gastric Banding Procedure Touted as a Weight-Loss Solution | CBC News (5)

He says he removes a gastric band or two every month.

"We suspect that almost all existing tapes will eventually need to be removed for one reason or another," he said.

The public system has strict criteria for weight loss surgery, including a very high body mass index along with other pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or sleep apnea. Private clinics are not so pickyUrbachsays, which can lead to all sorts of problems.

"When problems arise, they usually cannot handle those complications, especially if they are severe or require hospitalization," he said.

For severely overweight peopleUrbachsuggests getting a primary care physician referral to a publicly funded bariatric surgery program. And for those who don't qualify, he says the good news is that you really are healthy and should talk to your GP about a balanced approach to controlling your weight and overall health.

"There is no rule that everyone has to have a certain body weight."

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