Bariatric surgery to combat obesity is performed over 250,000 times a year in the U.S. The results are often successful, but the surgery carries with it numerous potential complications, including infection, diet limitations, and hernia.
However, another complication is also possible—Warneke's Encephalopathy. Essentially, this is brain damage cause by lack of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency, which can occur due to post-operative dehydration, vomiting, and inability to keep down food and fluids.
It is imperative that medical providers monitor Thiamine levels and provide supplements to maintain the proper level. If not, the patient may suffer severe and permanent brain damage. See: Alarming Increase in Malpractice Claims Related to Wernicke's Encephalopathy Post Bariatric Surgery: An Alert to Monitor for Thiamine Deficiency : Bariatric Times
A medical malpractice case arising for this condition resulted in a $15.4 million verdict in Texas. The medical literature establishes that Warneke's Encephalopathy is “100% preventable” with proper monitoring and treatment by the healthcare team.
Thus, while this complication is relatively rare, it is horrific it should never happen with proper medical care.
Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian handles medical malpractice cases, including those arising from bariatric surgery.