Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Weighty Matter

No offense meant to anyone, but as long as obesity, especially morbid obesity, is common, I will always have a job. I am the first to admit that my body is not perfect. I could stand to lose 5 to 10 pounds. I often eat too much sugar and processed foods and get too little exercise. However, it is the population that is 100 or more pounds overweight to whom I am referring. We have had to acquire special hospital beds for the morbidly obese, special wheelchairs, special operating room tables. We have one orthopedic surgeon who has literally made a fortune providing knee replacements to obese patients. We take care of so many people having toes feet, legs amputated because of obesity related diabetes. I am fortunate to have only gotten a few aches and strains from lifting/maneuvering obese patients. I have had coworkers develop severe and chronic back, neck, shoulder, and elbow problems from assisting super heavy patients. Many of these patients are on Medicaid, so everyone else is collectively footing the bill for their numerous medical procedures and quite extensive care. These patients are getting younger and younger. The other day I had a 24 year old female patient who literally could not wipe her own butt. When I asked her what she did about it at home, she replied that her husband did it for her. I have seen ICU patients with trachs for an inability to maintain their own airway and breathe solely due to their morbid obesity. My uber conservative husband makes statements like "Oh, just cut off their food stamps". Somehow I don't think that would get the job done. I don’t know what the solution is. Do you?

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