Woman left in wheelchair after gastric bypass awarded $9M

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Kathryn Parker lost cognitive function after she undergoing a bypass surgery five years ago. (WLS)

A gastric bypass surgery changed a northwest Indiana woman's life forever, but not in the way she anticipated. The procedure left Kathryn Parker unable to walk.

Five years ago, Parker chose to undergo gastric bypass surgery, which carries some risk of complication. However, Parker lost cognitive function. She cannot walk or legibly write her name.

"I can't do the things I used to do. I really cared for my family. I can't do that anymore," Parker said.

Her lawyer, Ken Allen, argued the surgeons at Downers Grove, Ill.- based LifeWeigh Bariatric failed to adequately review Parker's medical history and prescribed a blood thinner that led to irreversible internal bleeding.

"They gave her the wrong medicine to thin her blood in a way that there was no antidote to overcome the blood thinning. It shouldn't have been done," Allen said.

Good Samaritan Hospital, where the surgery was performed, reached a $5 million settlement with Parker. However, her case against the doctors went to federal court in Chicago. After a two-week trial and just three hours of deliberations, a jury awarded her more than $9 million.

LifeWeigh declined comment.

"She'll be able to live with the health care that she needs and with some measure of dignity," Allen said.

Parker's medical bills are already close to $1.5 million. While the legal action provides some comfort, life ahead is uncertain.

"It's very difficult. I don't know," Parker said.

She faces a lifetime of therapy.

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