1-800-GET-THIN Fires Back at LA Times

The Los Angeles Times wrote a story Friday about the death of 55-year-old Paula Rojeski, the latest victim of the controversial Lap-Band procedure.

According to reporter Stuart Pfeifer, Rojeski was “the fifth person to die shortly after Lap-Band procedures at clinics affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign since 2009, according to lawsuits, coroner’s records and interviews.”

This latest article didn’t sit well with the folks at 1-800-GET-THIN, who fired back at the LAT in a scathing press release:

“Please consider the following as clarifications to the Los Angeles Times article as well as other misconceptions:

1 800 GET THIN is a marketing company. 1 800 GET THIN did not refer Ms. Rojeski for surgery. 1 800 GET THIN does not practice medicine or provide medical care.

1 800 GET THIN works with highly rated and accredited facilities. The facilities that work with 1 800 GET THIN are required to adhere to a strict surgical and pre-operative regimen and incorporate safety protocols that are among the most thorough in the community. Before any patient is allowed to have weight loss surgery, the patient will undergo a battery of diagnostic examinations designed specifically for their safety. At the conclusion of all tests, only approximately 3% of the individuals that inquired about the Lap-Band are actually approved and cleared for this procedure. It has been confirmed that Ms. Rojeski was appropriately cleared for surgery by multiple independent physicians.

All surgical procedures, no matter how minor, have risks. Every facility and physician working with 1 800 GET THIN is required to inform any potential patient of the risks and will also provide a written disclosure.

1 800 GET THIN is actively involved in programs to prevent obesity in our community by promoting healthy eating and exercise habits in both adults and children.

An initial investigation into Ms. Rojeski’s case has indicated that the surgeon had extensive experience in Lap-Band procedures, all without any prior mortality and the anesthesiologist who treated the patient is Board Certified with over 20-years of experience.

1 800 GET THIN has been informed by the surgery center that all surgical protocols were followed and that there were no deficiencies in the systems and processes of the surgery center. The cause of death remains undetermined at this time.

1 800 GET THIN has repeatedly tried to convey the truth to the LA Times, only to be ignored. The facilities that work with 1 800 GET THIN help more people through the surgical intervention of weight loss than any other program of its kind in California. These facilities continue to be the leader in this field of medicine and provide an excellent level of care. Lap-Band surgery remains the safest weight loss procedure available. Alternatives to the Lap-Band procedure, such as gastric stapling or bypass, are more invasive and have up to five times higher risk of significant complications including death.”

This screams of desperation by 1-800-GET-THIN to wash their hands of these ongoing deaths. Good luck taking on the LAT and my apologies for getting the “Let your new life begin” jingle stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Previously on FishbowlLA:
No Love Lost in Crazy LA Times Lawsuit
LA Times Responds to Latest 1-800-GET-THIN Complaint