Since it's January, there is a big push by those selling weight loss and also for weight loss surgery. TV is showing a lot of programs on weight loss, and weight loss surgery.
When they advertise weight loss surgery by giving case histories, there is a small (well, maybe not so small) problem. Many patients die from the surgery which is supposed to induce an artificial case of anorexia so the patient either cannot eat much or as in the more invasive procedures like gastric bypass, cannot eat much and doesn't digest much of what they do eat.
One patient who had been followed since being featured on the first show in 2010, was a Haitian lady named Dominique Lanoise. Lanoise weighed in the 600 lbs range and was bed bound. From what is known about her, she was slim when younger and ended up having 6 children - she apparently gained after pregnancy.
She was a charming lady, who though bedbound, would sway to the music in her bed. The documentary showed her eating large amounts of food, rejecting the diet food (they put her on a 700 calorie diet in order to reduce her for surgery) and kidding with her daughters who adored their mother.
Dominique was convinced that a gastric bypass would save her life and be a quick fix for her obesity problems which she felt was out of her control, so she searched until she found a surgeon willing to operate on her, at her current weight.
She lost weight after surgery and was transferred to a rehab facility but two weeks later, she checked herself out and returned home. A couple of months later, she died, apparently from a heart attack which WLS afficionados assured us was "unrelated" to the surgery.
However, the nutrient shortage from the gastric bypass can raise the risk for heart attack significantly, because the heart is starved from essential nutrients, including protein. That seems the "elephant in the room" when one researches Dominque's story - certainly those providing weight loss surgery do not want to admit that this "life saving surgery" actually hastened her to an early death.
Another TLC patient, Donald, also had weight loss surgery. He was also around 600 or 700 lbs. Donald did try to move after surgery and do what the doctors told him to do. Patients are told that unless they make lifestyle changes (like dieting, counting calories and exercise), the surgery will not work for them. Ironically, those same changes will work for weight loss without invasive surgery.
But then, suddenly and mysteriously, Donald went into a coma and emerged with Guillan Barre or "French Polio" - which put him into a wheelchair. Disease after gastric bypass is common but again providers tell us it's unrelated to denying the body of proteins, fats and vitamins. Last seen, Donald was getting around in a wheelchair and rapidly regaining weight although trying to exercise it off - another myth one sees on TV - exercise doesn't take much weight off us - how well I know about that one. It does make us healthier but it's not really good for weight loss.
That some are still selling a surgery which hasn't been done for years on non obese patients, a surgery which the inventor thereof dropped in 1980 because of the high complication rate, truly amazes me.
There seems a conspiracy of silence among patients as well as providers. Patients who regain and live, are reluctant to tell about their surgeries because both the public and their doctors blame them for their gain. Patients who have become ill from the surgery and live long enough to be reversed and get back normal digestion, are often reluctant to talk about their bad experiences because new ops and providers can get mean to those who talk too negatively about weight loss surgery.
Patients are so sold on this surgery that until they get really ill, they refuse to admit that it has a high complication rate and a higher recidivism rate. When I began to research it in 1999, I was shocked that many studies were on line and told the truth openly, but patients were not reading the studies and only listening to new ops who were excited and seemingly successful. Even successful patients who have suffered difficult complications and talk about them in blogs, have taken a lot of criticism from "the community".
So people continue to jump on the table for a surgery which sounds like the ultimate cure because many do not encounter the "other side", i.e. the dark side especially if they do not have internet access or know where to look.
Informed consent information on all surgeries can be found at:
In conclusion, a friend of mine who weighs over 500 lbs but has refused weight loss surgery, says she's outlived 48 of her friends who had weight loss surgery.