OC Firm To Cut Supplies Of ‘Lap-Band’ Weight Loss Device After Patient Deaths

IRVINE (CBS) — A popular weight loss device seen and heard on advertisements throughout the Southland will no longer be available for sale as regulators investigate the Orange County firm that makes the devices.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports the move could signal that the ubiquitous diet “hotline” 1-800-GET-THIN will soon be out of service.

Irvine-based Allergan Corp. announced it will no longer supply the “Lap-Band” to surgery centers affiliated with the marketing company in the wake of five patient deaths in Southern California since 2009.

Attorney Alexander Robertson has filed two wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of relatives of patients who died following Lap-Band surgery.

“Both of those patients were unable to eat or swallow any fluids at all,” said Robertson. “Finally, they went to the emergency room, and emergency room doctors said in both cases they essentially showed up on death’s door.”

The Food and Drug Administration had approved the stomach-shrinking device for use for non-obese patients back in February of last year.

KCAL9’s Stephanie Abrams reports one of the patients, John Faitro, lost his wife Laura in July 2010 just days after her Lap Band surgery — an operation for which the firm was criminally negligent, according to Alexander.

“Not telling patients like John’s wife that they cut her liver three places during the surgery and put her in a wheelchair and sent her home to die,” he said.

John recalled how Laura became his provider and caretaker after John lost his eyesight.

“She helped everybody out, she was a serving lady,” he said. “She was doing the Lap-Band for herself.”

Faitros’ case is set to go to trial in September.

Surgery centers affiliated with the devices and 1-800-GET-THIN responded to the lawsuit by saying,” “In past years, thousands of patients served by our centers have achieved weight loss with positive results after receiving Lap-Bands.”

“Every surgery has risks — the Lap-Band is no exception,” the statement added.

Comments

One Comment

  1. good4allergan says:

    All intents and purposes? The OMIDI brothers, Julian and Michael (with their mother pulling the financial strings behind the scenes), will just change their name (this must be going onto hand #2 by now), and continue on, business as usual.

    All I can say is although my former employer’s business has been hit hard in this economy, and he made some terrible business decisions, a great one was NOT getting into bed with these guys. A business partner and one of the Omidi’s (I think Julian) came in the office one day trying to take us over, the guy couldn’t stop talking, fidgeting… He was completely acting as if he was tweaked out, high on some blow, something. Big surprise that in that time there’s been at least 2 deaths in their facilities. Even at that time we knew something was going to happen, a business associate affiliated with us at the time toured the Omidi facilities in West Hills/Bev Hills and came away saying that somebody was going to die there. And they did.

  2. Just Wrong says:

    You guys should do a Google Search on these guys. The stories are terrible. Unsanitary conditions, deaths, oxygen tanks not working, surgery of people not anesthitized. These guys and the doctors belong in jail.

    People are not expendable.

  3. collins says:

    I have to admit the LA Times did some pretty solid reporting on the Omidis.

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