Wednesday, February 27, 2008
A Whole Floor to treat sick WLS patients?
I was talking with a nurse (RN) who works in neuro ICU in a large hospital in our town. I made some comment about those ICU nurses working super hard (they do - each nurse only has 2 patients and even at that, they basically hardly get to sit down during a 12 hour shift).
She surprised me by saying that was NOT the hardest place to work.
I naturally, asked her what could be harder.
She said that this hospital was a center for treating sick gastric bypass patients, having a whole floor dedicated to those patients. She had worked there once, she told me and felt that was the hardest place she'd EVER worked, even harder than neuro ICU.
I asked her why and she answered, "Because the 'gastric bypass gone bad' patients are so ill - it is so sad!"
Keep in mind that neuro ICU is where those patients with brain bleeds, strokes and brain cancer go.
But this nurse was basically saying that as ill as the neuro ICU patients were, the sick gastric bypass patients were even sicker!
Many people choose to have a gastric bypass after talking to a couple of happy post ops (most of whom are less than 2 years out and all of whom are less than 10 years post op), and attending a seminar in which the presenter shows a nice looking drawing of what is done (which doesn't have much resemblance to the real thing), parades some happy new ops and makes promises like "if you don't like it, it can be reversed" (not true) or "you will never have to diet again" (also not true).
They watch shows like BIG MEDICINE where all the episodes have happy endings and sick patients are never shown. Those who are losing TOO much weight. Those suffering from extreme malnutrition who cannot get out of bed. Those who get neuropathy and end up with mobility problems.
Sometimes pre ops ignore people they know who have had a bad result or even have died after weight loss surgery.
That's because the few post ops they get to meet (the happy ones) assure them that the sick people are a rarity and this is a myth they really want to believe.
A friend who is a medical provider told me about one of his patients who weighed over 500 lbs and rolled into his office in a wheelchair. She told him that her daughter had had a gastric bypass 5 years previous. "She's slim now," said the lady, "but she's been frail and sickly ever since." The mother felt being so large and even having to motivate in a wheelchair was better than what her daughter was suffering.
A whole floor just for sick gastric bypass patients. A whole floor of a large hospital. A place we will never hear about on "Big Medicine" or in the media.