Renee Williams Gastric Bypass - An Inspiration Or A Warning?

by Donald Saunders - Date: 2007-04-24 - Word Count: 491 Share This!

Renee Williams, who was the child of heavy parents, had been morbidly obese for most of her life.  At 13 years of age she was nearly 300 pounds and during her early twenties, by which time she was married with 2 children, her weight had reached 400 pounds.

In 2003 her life changed dramatically when she suffered severe injury to her left leg in a car accident and found herself unable to walk and confined to her bed. Her weight now started to rise rapidly and, by the beginning of 2007, she had reached 800 pounds.

Confined to bed, Renee's only window on the world was the television and her laptop computer and she resolved to do whatever it took to lose weight and marry her new fiancé and once again to become a mother to the children, who had seen her confined to her bedroom for over a year. As a result, she began the search for a bariatric surgeon who would be prepared to perform weight loss surgery for her.

Although gastric bypass surgery is routinely performed on morbidly obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) between 40 and 60, the risks of surgery increase considerably as BMI rises and, with a BMI of 137, Renee Williams was considered to be at exceptionally high risk from surgery. No fewer than twelve surgeons turned her down therefore before she finally found two surgeons from the Renaissance Hospital in Houston who were prepared to undertake the operation.

On 20 February 2007 Renee Williams made history when she became the largest woman ever to undergo weight loss surgery. Her laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery went well in spite of the fact that surgery lasted five hours, rather than the normal one or two hours, and required two operating tables and the adaptation of standard operating equipment and techniques.

Initially, her recover went well and, in the two weeks after surgery, she lost 67 pounds which was an excellent start on her road to losing the 650 pounds which her surgeons were predicting for the three years following surgery.

On 4 March 2007 however she suddenly began experiencing chest pains and these were quickly followed by a massive heart attack from which she died.

Tragically, Renee Williams did not realize here dream of marrying on Valentine's Day 2008 or of being able to fulfill he wish to once again be a mother to her children but many will praise her for her braze decision to undergo surgery and will see her surgery as an inspiration in their own efforts to tackle morbid obesity.

But was the Renee Williams gastric bypass really a wise course of action for both Renee and her surgeons? This is clearly something that will be debated for a long time to come but, whatever, your own thoughts, there can be little doubt that it will serve as a warning to us all of the dangers involved in gastric bypass surgery.

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