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A Texas man who lost both of his legs after a botched weight-loss surgery is now seeking millions of dollars in damages.
Carlos Saucedo, who weighed 275 pounds in 2013, went under the knife for a gastric sleeve procedure hoping to lose weight. But according to Dallas-Fort Worth's WFAA-TV, when Saucedo woke up some two weeks later, he lost more than just a few pounds -- his two legs had to be amputated at the knee.
What happened to Saucedo, and how might his doctors be held liable?
Punctured Main Artery During Surgery
Gastric bypass isn't the most dangerous surgery under the sun, nor does it involve the legs. So how did this weight-loss surgery result in Saucedo losing two legs?
According to Saucedo's attorney Douglas Wood, the physicians who performed the procedure accidentally punctured Saucedo's aorta -- the body's main artery through which oxygen-rich blood flows. WFAA reports that after physicians stemmed Saucedo's bleeding, they shut off his aorta, cutting off life-giving blood to his lower extremities.
Saucedo didn't even realize what had happened until he woke up in recovery -- two weeks later. The Associated Press reports that Saucedo is seeking $10 million in damages for the medical blunders that cost him his legs.
Seems Like Malpractice, Right?
The standard for medical malpractice typically rests on whether physicians acted with the same level of care that would have been given by a reasonably prudent physician under the same circumstances. Certainly unexpected things can happen during even routine surgical procedures, but malpractice seeks to compensate for mistakes that wouldn't have been made by a doctor's reasonably prudent peers.
In Saucedo's case, it seems that there are two major medical mistakes being alleged: the puncturing of his aorta and the failure to realize that blocking the aorta would cut off circulation to his legs. These alleged mistakes could have proven fatal, Wood tells WFAA, which makes the $10 million Saucedo is seeking seem fairly small.
Four doctors are named as defendants in Saucedo's suit, and neither they nor their attorneys have commented on the case.