LAPD probing Lap-Band weight loss surgery provider after patient deaths

Billboards for weight loss surgery provider "1-800-GET THIN" were ubiquitous around LA freeways until recently; the company has since come under scrutiny by the FDA, consumer affairs watchdogs and Consumer Reports for sketchy business practices. Now, the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the firm over the recent death of a patient. Snip from LA Times report:

In a civil lawsuit, two former surgery center workers alleged that a series of medical gaffes contributed to [55 year old patient Paula] Rojeski's death. That lawsuit, filed in January, said an intravenous line was not properly inserted into Rojeski's arm during surgery, causing solution to pool on the floor of the operating room. Former surgical technicians Dyanne Deuel and Karla Osorio also said in the lawsuit that the anesthesiologist forgot to turn on the oxygen tank before surgery.

The LA Times report goes on to list four additional patient deaths. (photo: LA Times)


  1. “the company has since come under scrutiny . . . for sketchy business practices.”

    You mean, as opposed to all those ‘non-sketchy’ doctors/clinics that perform these surgical mutilations of healthy digestive systems to induce life-long anorexia and often late-onset terminal complications (as well as, commonly, only modest-to-no permanent weight loss)?

      1. Nope, not at all common (unless it’s occurred within the last several years — metabolic readjustment and/or stomach re-expansion often takes around five years to fully develop).

        1.  Yeah..I am one year in.  Slow and steady.  It is a lot of work and not something that should be advertised on a billboard.  This is not for people who do not understand that this is a last resort kind of thing.  Not a fly-by-night kind of thing.

          1.  There are surprising few studies on the long term (and by this I mean two years or more) outcomes for gastric surgeries. I had a patient once who had a lap-band, lost weight, and gained it all back over two following years, then had a gastric bypass, and again gained all the weight back over two years. Her problem was a pre-exisiting eating disorder that, surprise, surprise, wasn’t adequately treated by gastric surgery. There are definitely a subset of patients whose first-line treatment should not be surgery.

            That’s great that you’ve lost 90lbs :) Gastric surgery is still the most effective weight reduction strategy.

    1. Thank you for pointing this out. Long term outcomes are no better than dieting, and much more harmful. 

    1.  Really?  I feel like I just saw one a day or two ago, but maybe my mind was playing tricks on me after the craziness from before.

      I guess it’s not too surprising though that a guy with an advertising strategy of buying almost every billboard in southern California might be a bit shady.  There was a period where you could pass 3 or 4 of the exact same billboards in a row.  Fortunately, they have started to disappear.

      1. They were so ubiquitous that it was quite easy to block them out subconsciously. Didn’t have to actually actively ignore them. So I guess once they disappear(ed) a lot of people will have just assumed they’re still there :)

  2. ” […]an intravenous line was not properly inserted into Rojeski’s arm during surgery, causing solution to pool on the floor of the operating room.”


    1. It’s pretty normal for IVs to slip or become dislodged and leak. Not really a big deal unless nobody notices and slips in it. You just put in a new one.

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