Deaths Mount as Scrutiny Surrounds Lap-Band Clinics
Written By: Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP
The death toll has risen to four over the past 2 years at the Valley Surgery Center in Westhills, California. The clinic and the advertising agency that promotes Lap-Band surgeries for them are receiving more and more scrutiny with people claiming they are minimizing the risks associated with Lap-Band surgery andperforming the surgeries poorly.
The latest victim was Laura Faitro who contacted the weight loss surgery after calling "1-800-GET-THIN" and was directed to the Valley Surgery Center. Ms. Faitro's liver was lacerated three times during her Lap-Band surgery and this may have contributed to her death.
The "1-800-GET-THIN" advertising agency, the doctors, and the Lap-Band manufacturer have been accused of minimizing the risks associated with the surgery and not properly labeling certain advertisments. In one case, a billboard that advertises for Lap-Band clinic (not more than a few miles away from an Allergan faciity) solicited people for the surgery saying it would be an easy way to get thin fast, without mentioning the risks associated with the surgery at all.
Allergan argues that the billboard was put up by an advertising agency for surgeons that perform the procedure in the area and therefore wouldn't be subject to the same advertising/labeling requirements the FDA requires of Allergan's advertisements.