Originally published April 11 2008
Extremely High Rate of Suicide Discovered Among Bariatric Surgery Patients
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery appear to commit suicide at five to 10 times the population average, according to a recent study published in the journal Archives of Surgery. Researchers examined data collected from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost and Containment Council and the Pennsylvania state health agency's Division of Vital Records. Approximately 1 percent of patients undergoing bariatric surgery died within a year of the operation, while approximately 6 percent died within five years. Among the 16,683 procedures that the researchers examined, 440 patients died over a 10-year period.
Forty-five of these deaths were classified as "traumatic," including 10 motor vehicle crashes, three homicides, two falls, 16 suicides and 14 drug overdoses that could not be proven to be deliberate.
Based on the average rate of suicide in the United States, only 3 out of 440 deaths would be expected to be due to suicide. "There is a substantial excess of suicide deaths, even excluding those listed only as drug overdose," the researchers said.
Among the non-traumatic deaths, 19.2 percent were caused by coronary heart disease, 13.9 percent by sepsis, 11.0 percent by pulmonary embolism, 11.4 percent by therapeutic complications and 10.6 percent by cancer.
Taking into account the overall numbers, bariatric surgery does not appear to be particularly dangerous, said Dr. Edward Livingston of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who was invited to critique the study.
"What was unexpected was the frequency of suicide and drug overdoses," he said.
But Livingston emphasized that "it may be a greater hazard to not induce weight loss for morbidly obese patients with concomitant medical complications."
The researchers suggested that more intense followup treatment may be required for bariatric surgery patients, with an emphasis on detecting and treating depression. In addition, doctors should focus on the risk factors for the most common causes of death in these patients. These risk factors include smoking, hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia.
"The simple fact about bariatric surgery," added consumer health advocate Mike Adams, "is that these patients need nutritional support, counseling and effective behavior modification. They do not need to have their internal organs cut away by barbaric surgeons who leave them unable to experience normal, healthy digestion for the rest of their lives. There is no evidence whatsoever that bariatric surgery makes people healthy. There is strong evidence, however, that it makes them suicidal."
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