The family of Tamara Walter of Lawndale, California, has filed a lawsuit against the 1-800-GET-THIN® advertising company, as well as two doctors involved in her Lap-Band surgery at an outpatient clinic at 9001 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The lawsuit alleges that 1-800-GET-THIN® and Top Surgeons represented to Walter that she would receive a “a higher level of care” by “top-rated surgical specialists.”
According to the complaint, Walter died three days after the Lap-Band surgery, and the family discovered that Dr. Daniel Shin, her anesthesiologist during the surgery, was on probation with the state medical board due to a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. The second doctor was under investigation by the Medical Board of California.
The lawsuit claims that Walter’s treatment “fell below the applicable standards of care” and caused her death, the LA Times reports. A Los Angeles County coroner also said in a report that Walter received ‘suboptimal’ care, which included leaving her in the care of a nurse after surgery, the complaint alleges.
According to a Los Angeles Times article published on September, 7th 2011, Walter’s, “is one of four patients to die in the days after Lap-Band procedures at clinics that are connected to the advertising campaign, according to lawsuits and coroner reports.”
On December 13, 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) took action California surgical centers, including Top Surgeons and the marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN LLC, for misleading advertising of the Lap-Band. According to warning letters issued by the agency, 1-800-GET-THIN® and the surgery centers, their advertising and billboards for the Lap-Band procedure “failed to provide required risk information, including warnings, precautions, possible side effects and contraindications. The FDA also is concerned that the font size of information related to risks on the advertising inserts is too small to be read by consumers.”