BOSTON (AP) – Brigham and Women’s hospital has halted all laparoscopic gastric bypass surgeries following a Lawrence woman’s death there last month after undergoing the procedure.

A staple gun apparently misfired during the operation, prompting the hospital to report the equipment to the Food and Drug Administration, hospital spokesman Vincent Petrini said Wednesday.

Ann Marie Simonelli, 38, died at the Boston hospital Oct. 23, two days after having her stomach stapled in a laparoscopic procedure, which involves small incision and a scope.

The procedure differs from open gastric bypass, which requires a large incision, leading to more scarring and a slower recovery.

“This is a tragic situation,” Andy Whittemore, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “During the course of a standard laparascopic gastric bypass surgery, a widely utilized staple gun apparently malfunctioned leading to a significant complication. We are in the process of undertaking an exhaustive review of the procedure … In the meantime, there are few words available to define our sorrow.”

Whittemore said the hospital is reviewing all the factors.

that may have contributed to the death, including the staple gun.

Dr. David Lautz, who performed the operation, has not been disciplined. He did not immediately return a call for comment on Wednesday.

Another woman filed a complaint against Lautz last year after a similar procedure, according to The Eagle-Tribune newspaper. In his response, Lautz said that the stapler had misfired in that case as well.

Simonelli is the first person at Brigham and Women’s to die from this type of operation, but not the first in the state.

According to the state Department of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s performs between 100 and 200 gastric bypass surgeries a year. Statewide there are approximately 2,000 performed each year. According to officials, the laparoscopic process is becoming increasingly popular.

AP-ES-11-05-03 1402EST


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