Health Ministry mandates new criteria for sleeve gastrectomy surgeries
The Turkish Health Ministry sent out a memorandum on Oct. 20 to all 81 governorships of the country as well as other institutions, including private hospitals and branches of the Social Security Institution (SGK), mandating them to take precautions against victimization and complications patients are subjected to in sleeve gastrectomy surgeries.
New criteria were placed to minimize the damage caused by what is known as “obesity surgeries” to be conducted following news reports showing people of various ages getting severely damaged or killed following or during the operation.
The new regulation foresees forming a council to decide on who can undergo a sleeve gastrectomy. The memorandum also mandates for surgeons who will perform obesity operations to have extensive knowledge of advanced bariatrics and laparoscopic techniques.
The Health Ministry also made it mandatory for the patient who wishes to undergo obesity surgery to first receive consultations from a surgeon, a mental health professional, an anesthesia expert and a reanimation expert. If necessary, the patient will also need to get consultations from cardiology, chest diseases, physiotherapy and rehabilitation experts.
The patient will then be informed of the operational procedure as well as the possible perks and side effects of the surgery by a medical doctor.
The memorandum also mandates for the operational facilities to have registered third-level adult intensive care units as well as an endoscopy unit and an operating room with sufficient surgical instruments that are compatible with obesity conditions.
For the patient to undergo obesity surgery, the facility must have the required infrastructure, including beds, stretchers and operation tables suitable for obese patients, as well as a knowledgeable team, the memorandum said.
The surgeon’s job will not end after leaving the operating room.
The new regulation mandates for surgeons as well as facility management to be held responsible for the processes the patient experiences before and after the surgery, including nutrition, exercise, psychological assistance and periodic check-ups.
Sanitary boards as well as surgical teams responsible at the facilities will be held accountable for the patient’s legal operational procedures.
In case of regulation violations, the responsible persons will be subjected to investigations and will be fined according to their crime, the memorandum said.
Özge Şeker, a young woman from Istanbul who weighed 78 kilos, lost her life following a sleeve gastrectomy procedure, daily Hürriyet reported on Oct. 19. Şeker’s death sparked a nationwide debate on the regulations of the surgery in Turkey.
Şeker is not the only person who has suffered from the operation.
Nagehan Dikici, a 32-year-old and mother of two, died in September after going through the procedure in the Anatolian province of Yozgat.