Army Hospital settles $9.5M malpractice lawsuit after patient’s death

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Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, has settled a medical malpractice suit involving a failed gastric bypass surgery for $9.5 million.

The botched procedure took place in November 2020, when Julie Bond, the 31-year-old mother of three and wife of former Army Staff Sgt. Donald Bond, was referred by a Schofield Barracks physician to the hospital’s bariatric surgery center for postpartum weight treatment. Bond died six weeks later.

According to a report by the Star-Advertiser, the surgery was a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery for weight loss. This procedure involves the creation of a small pouch connected to the small intestine, thereby bypassing the stomach. However, in the process of reattaching her small intestine, surgeons did it backwards. This led to a post-operation hernia three days after, and an emergency surgery that resulted in multiple complications.

“During her emergency surgery, anesthetists damaged Bond’s lungs, and she developed blood clots,” the Star-Advertiser wrote.

The facility’s clot-removing machine wasn’t working, but instead of moving Bond to another hospital with a functioning machine, her doctors chose to treat her with a tissue plasminogen activator — a clot-buster more commonly known as tPA. Bond developed a brain hemorrhages from the medication she was prescribed, according to the Star-Advertiser.

After the surgery, Bond was in a coma before falling victim to “locked in” syndrome. Rendered a quadriplegic who was conscious but unable to move or breathe on her own, she ultimately developed sepsis and died on Dec. 16, 2020.

“Our kids have been robbed of a life with their mother,” her husband said at a local press conference.

The nearly $10 million settlement is going to Bond’s husband and children.

This isn’t the only recent major suit involving Tripler Army Medical Center. In May 2023, the facility paid out almost $30 million to another family in a September 2016 case involving an infant sustaining heart and brain damage as a result of delayed care. Tripler also settled a $38 million suit in June 2022 after the parents of a baby reported the hospital was too slow in choosing a cesarean section, claiming this led to brain damage.

The Bond family hired Loretta Sheehan as its attorney. She previously won a $4.2 million settlement in a similar case involving Tripler’s bariatric surgery center and a Navy wife named Christina Mettias, who had the same procedure as Julie Bond. She now lives with series of debilitating complications as a result of the surgery.

“We filed a complaint for the death of Julie Bond due to errors by the bariatric surgery program at Tripler Army Medical Center,” Sheehan told Military Times. “One of the central questions emanating from Julie Bond settlement is why Tripler Army Medical Center continues to provide Roux-en-Y bypass surgeries to young and healthy military wives.”

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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