Weight-Loss Surgery Led To Woman Losing Her Legs

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — A weight-loss surgery turned into a nightmare and cost a woman both of her legs.

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini examines allegations that she was not properly monitored or treated, in part, because she was hospitalized during a holiday.

Life for Mary Beth Ruphard has changed drastically since last Thanksgiving. Weighing 278 pounds, she went to Provena St. Joseph Medical Center, in Joliet, for surgery to beat her battle with obesity.

“I just wanted to live longer, live better you know, said Ruphard. “I had diabetes (and) hypertension as my risk factors.”

Ruphard had weight-loss surgery in early November, then was back in the hospital for surgery to repair a perforation. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, she started complaining about her legs.

“I did complain to a nurse,” said Ruphard. “I say, ‘my legs, they are aching and they are tingling.'”

Repeated notes in her medical chart say Ruphard’s toes were cold and blue then later there was no feeling below the knees. She reportedly was losing circulation, but no immediate action was taken, according to her attorney Laird Ozmon.

“The doctor that amputated her legs was highly upset and made the statement, ‘Why was I not called in earlier’?” said Ozmon.

Ozmon says it then took 36 hours for another surgeon to be called in, to try and save her legs. It was too late and both legs had to be amputated.

“I remember laying in the bed kind of feeling down here and not being able to feel anything,” Ruphard said while pointing to the bottom of her leg. “No knees, no calves, no nothing.”

Ozmon filed a lawsuit against the medical center claiming they failed to monitor her and failed to act when she had symptoms of blood clots in her legs, even though he says they knew she had a pre-existing blood clotting condition.

“Simply because someone happens to get ill on a holiday doesn’t mean that their not entitled to that same standard of care, and that clearly, clearly in this case was not abided by,” said Ozmon.

Ruphard is still recovering and trying to deal with new limitations.

“Being able to walk alongside my husband holding his hand or, you know, dancing to our wedding song,” said Ruphard. “That’s not going to happen again.”

A statement from Provena St. Joseph Medical Center said the surgery carries risks and complications. It also said patients are diligently monitored and cared for.

“While patient privacy laws prevent us from commenting on the specifics of this isolated incident, this patient’s continued recovery remains in our prayers,” officials said in a prepared statement.

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  • Stumpy

    Weight loss surgery? How about having a little self control and not stuffing your face rather than opting for the easy quick fix route?

    • Well Read

      Dear Stumpy!! U R an AH! Not all weight problems are due to over eating!!!!!! Surgery, like she had, is NOT an “easy quick fix route”! Where do you live, under a rock? Want to make any more ignorant statements. Read a book once in a while or go back to school!!!!!

      • Big Bertha

        Most likely you’re a fatty yourself. Quit trying to justify being grossly overweight. Put down the Oreos and go work out!

  • jen

    Maybe I’m missing something, but – Why is this being connected to the weight loss surgery, if she had a pre-existing clotting condition?

    Did this happen because she was in the hospital bed due to the follow-up surgery? Because that’s the only connection I can see.

    And how on earth does a hospital let it go 36 hours after finding that her toes are cold and blue, and the situation is worsening rather than improving?

  • Lucie Journet

    “Simply because someone happens to get ill on a holiday doesn’t mean that their not entitled to that same standard of care, and that clearly, clearly in this case was not abided by,” said Ozmon.

    Should be corrected to say “…they’re not entitled…”

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  • Michelle Vicari

    Weight Loss Surgery didn’t cause Mary Beth to lose her legs, blood clots (a pre existing condition) and neglect of warning signs by the hospital staff did. She could have been going in for a hysterectomy or appendix removal and had the same issue. I hope she is able to find peace (and a large malpractice settlement.) I had gastric bypass surgery in 2006. My before & current picture: http://www.theworldaccordingtoeggface.com the 158 pound weight loss I achieved resolved all my health issues Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, High Blood Pressure, and a host of other issues, I am off all 8 medications I was on prior to surgery, I have not been to the doctor for anything more than routine check-ups in 5 years. Best decision I ever made. It’s not the right choice for everyone but it was for me and thousands and thousands of others. Having surgery was just one battle in a lifetime war versus obesity, every day I wake up and fight with healthy eating choices, moving my body and working on the head. I encourage readers thinking about weight loss surgery to research, talk to your doctor, attend a bariatric seminar, hit up post-ops about their experience.

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