I understand that people who end up dangerously and morbidly obese aren’t thinking properly, are often emotionally unhealthy in addition to being physically unhealthy…that they eventually get to a place where they are desperate for change, seeking an easy escape from the fate they’re walled themselves into, but bariatric surgery is barbaric, bad medicine and a total cop-out.
Doctors who perform such surgery should have their licenses revoked for violating the rule of first do no harm. I have no doubt that in the future, the procedures will be relegated to the medical museum of shame along with frontal lobotomy and bloodletting.
Perhaps one of the most odious steps involved in reeling in new patients is the use of the Judas goat in the form of a formerly heavy patient, now acting as patient advocate, who enters the room to show the obese person just how much weight he/she lost and how wonderful life is now. That is emotionally manipulative and a complete misdirection on the part of the staff.
In reality, the focus should be on the patient’s lifestyle and habits, which are inevitably extremely poor and in need of radical change. These are the same conditions that have to change if bariatric surgery is to succeed, so someone saying that they can’t manage to eat properly or exercise is not just an excuse, it is a reason to refuse to perform a procedure. Lifestyle change should be mandatory and the norm — not in addition to surgery, but in place of it.
Patients need to be placed in treatment and retrained on how to live in the most basic ways. Treatment also needs to extend to the family members who have enabled the person to grow to such proportions by bringing them unhealthy foods in large quantities, offering complete care and support.
There is a woman now who wants to eat on camera and pursue her goal to be the heaviest woman alive. You can read her story here: http://www.aolnews.com/health/article/600-pound-woman-eating-her-way-to-dubious-distinction/19399734.
Most of the reactions I saw to the story were sad and empathetic. I find that response ridiculous. Everyone makes his/her own choices. I don’t feel bad about others deciding to act counter to their health or commonly accepted wisdom.
The fact that she has children doesn’t change my POV. Everyone lives under the burden of the choices that those around them make. Maybe her kids will grow up with an enlightened sense of health because their mother set a bad example. Maybe they’ll learn to eat junk and not live as long. Not everyone on the planet necessarily ought to be around here longer.
A recent NPR story discussed how years of hard press to push better diets and more exercise has made only a small, incremental change in habits. This is a basic truth of human behavior. I’d rather not waste the investment. In fact, I’d been discussing with my partner — because of that story — how soon there will be a backlash, people tired of being told how to live and what choices to make. Immediately afterward, I encountered the tale of the woman who wants to eat on camera!
It is all about choices.