Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Modern Medicine, Meet Obesity . . .
A colleague sent me this story.
A 5' tall, 275 pound woman was allegedly refered to the ZOO for an MRI when she was discovered to be too big for the MRI machines at the University of Kansas Hospital in the Kansas City area.
Now - I know very, very well that obese people can't fit in any/all situations - especially medical equipment and I have had my fair share of humiliating medical experiences (including having to go to the emergency room to be weighed, breaking one of my dentist's chairs in my DC days and having a primary care physician in Connecticut (that I shan't mention by name here) who might have been the rudest "professional" I have ever dealt with as a morbidly obese person, etc.) but I would hope a medical "professional" would know that there are options, like "open" MRI machines that might preclude them from refering an obese patient to the ZOO for medical treatment.
I respect the fact that the medical community, save the kind and understanding professionals who work in obesity-specific environments (like the outstanding surgery and support teams at Danbury Hospital and the folks I worked with at Union Memorial in Baltimore too), focus more on the harm obesity does to your body and the troubles of medicating the obese more than the empathy it might require to deal with and help the obese. I get that MOST of society, at the end of the day, has an anti-obesity bias (despite the fact that we are, statistically, all getting fatter) and I, sadly, am well aware that obesity is the last, "great", socially acceptable form of bigotry that we cling to in this country.
I was flicking channels for Ava during her TV time last night and even an episode of the always-pithy Hannah Montana featured a "Jabba the Gut" pun from some kid on an airplane who was seated next to a fat man who was stereotyped right down to the loud, Hawaiian shirt so another generation of Americans will learn it is okay to make fun of fat people . . . just not washed-up country/pop music singers and their hack daughters/meal tickets (yeah - guilty as charged of NOT being a Miley Cyrus fan).
Anywho - let's just try to remind people that you can find open MRIs in most communities and most zoos won't treat people anyway . . . even the unlovable, animal-like obese. Tsk, tsk in the meantime - Jayhawk nation!