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Hospital will again staple stomachs

By Associated Press
Published December 27, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island hospital where a patient died during gastric bypass surgery this fall announced Friday it would resume the weight loss surgeries after determining doctors had conducted the procedure properly.

Robert Messa, 27, died Nov.18, about a half-hour into a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, or stomach stapling.

The procedure uses staples or stitches to dramatically reduce the stomach's size and bypasses part of the small intestine to cause weight loss. Two days after Messa's death, Roger Williams Medical Center suspended the procedure. Messa's death was the third among its 340 gastric bypass operations over three years.

Brett Davey, a Roger Williams spokesman, said two staff physicians conducted independent reviews of Messa's death, as did a hospital committee.

The surgery comes with risks, including blood clots floating to the lungs or leaking stomach juices that cause infections. Messa also had had health problems, including diabetes and nerve damage related to his obesity.

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