Alcohol Use Patient Agreement? Is this the prevention or merely protection from liability?

I was recently forwarded this from Dr. Wendy King, the principal on the new study, ” Prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorders Before and After Bariatric Surgery” .      I was astonished to see that this type of release is now recommended before bariatric surgery.     It is alarming in that it appears to be a liability waiver.    I had RNY in 2000 and my ex-husband in 2001.    I would have been quite alarmed had I been presented with this and required to sign something of this nature before surgery.      What is even more strange is that this form is asking the patient to certify that they have been truthful in revealing their pre-surgical alcohol consumption when the most startling thing about the phenomena of “addiction transfer” is that the person rarely has a history of alcohol of drug problems before surgery.     One has to ask, what is the purpose of requiring patients to sign an agreement so very specific.    When I first started writing, bariatric surgeons insisted this surgery did not cause alcoholism or addiction.   If that were the case, why require a form such as this?    I am all for education and counselling the bariatric patient on all the various and sundry changes that will affect them post-operatively.   But is this the way to do it?   And I don’t see anything about say, taking your vitamins every day, getting sufficient protein every day, or any of the other things the patient should do after surgery…. just the alcohol.        I would love to hear what you all think about this .      Did you have to sign anything like this before you had surgery?    If you had been asked to sign something like this, what would you have thought?   Would it have changed anything?   Made you re-think anything?   I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please comment?

Re: {Insert Patient Name}
Medical Record #: ______________________________
Surgeon:  ____________________________________
Proposed surgery: ______________________________

Alcohol Use Patient Agreement
I, {patient’s name}, have reported the following alcohol and/or substance use to Dr. {Dr.’s name}:
My signature below indicates the following

1. I have been completely thorough and honest in my disclosure of my alcohol and substance use.
2. I understand that I will be permanently more susceptible to the effects of alcohol after surgery.
3. I understand that I should avoid alcohol for the first 3–6 months after surgery and that I should drink in extreme moderation afterward.
4. I understand that I am at higher risk for developing problematic use after surgery and that abstinence from alcohol is the best way to reduce this risk and other medical and psychological complications.
5. I agree that if my surgeon or another member of the surgery team (nurse, nutritionist, psychologist, etc.), have concerns about my alcohol and/or substance use, I will seek consultation and/or treatment as recommended.
6. I have had the opportunity to ask questions regarding alcohol and substance use.
__________________ Date:_______________


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1 Comment

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One response to “Alcohol Use Patient Agreement? Is this the prevention or merely protection from liability?

  1. LW

    I WISH that before my husband had his surgery in 2008 someone would have stuck something like this under our noses. It would have raised a big red flag and perhaps we wouldn’t be spending the rest of our days in an epic a battle for his sobriety and for his very life. Before he had the procedure done I read everything I could get my hands on about the surgery. The only two phrases I did not put together for searches were “bariatric surgery” + “alcoholism.” It was never alluded to in his counseling sessions before his surgery, and his doctor simply dropped the ball on him afterward.

    About a year and a half after his surgery he started having physical cravings for alcohol. He doesn’t drink socially. When he gives in to the cravings, its usually in the morning before I wake up. Counseling hasn’t helped and even 2 DUIs in less than 6 months and a 90-day stint in jail wasn’t enough to make him stay sober. He’s trying, he truly is, but he keeps saying since his surgery he feels different inside – physically and we are both furious that this potential side effect was never discussed.

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