Monday, June 11, 2012


California Lap-Band Clinic Named In Whistleblower Lawsuit

A California Lap-Band clinic has just been named in a whistleblower lawsuit. The controversial Lap-Band is a silicone ring implanted around the stomach to curb an obese person’s appetite. The device, manufactured by Allergan Inc., is designed to promote rapid weight loss, but has been linked to a growing number of unexpected complications and side effects blamed on the device and the surgeons’ implanting the Lap-Band.

Now, said UT San Diego, two former employees of a San Diego Lap-Band clinic are suing the clinic and the once ubiquitous 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign. The two allege that the device and the campaign put patients at risk. Jessica Meyle, a dietitian, and Amy Demonbreun, a surgical technologist, allege that several factors exposed patients at the San Diego Ambulatory Surgery Center to unsafe care, such as inappropriately sterilized equipment and a questionable business model in which quotas were required for patient referrals, said UT San Diego.

The women, according to court documents, complained to their employers, but to no avail. The case was filed last week in Los Angels County Superior court. The San Diego Ambulatory Surgery Center denies the allegations, saying that the claims about unsterilized equipment are “a total fabrication,” said UT San Diego. The women contend that some patients who received procedures at the clinic’s San Diego location on December 30th and the Beverly Hills Surgery Center in January, could have been exposed to hepatitis C, according to court papers, said UT San Diego. The women also allege that they are not aware of any steps their employer or any other defendants took to contact potentially impacted patients, said UT San Diego. Both women resigned in 2012 and, an attorney for the women explained that, “They quit because they were being ordered to do things that were not legal,” according to UT San Diego.

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