Thursday, April 22, 2010

Learning...and Growing

Part of maintaining my board certification in emergency medicine as well as my state licensure is completion of continuing medical education (CME) each year. There are lots of ways to accomplish this…attendance at meetings, online tutorials, and the like. My preferred way to get my time in is through CME publications. Which brought me to the following quotes from the April 2010 issue of “Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine:”

“Obesity has reached epidemic proportions.”

I was at a meeting once with the CEO of a local hospital that had just started a bariatric surgery program. He was telling me that he expected a large volume of business. That was funny, so I asked if it was a growing and expanding segment of the market. He said it was, and was likely to pose a heavier burden upon society in the years to come. This went on for fifteen minutes. The hospital Public Information Officer looked at us like we were from Mars…specifically, M&M Mars. We had great fun. Lots of fun. Loads of fun. Tons of fun. You get the drift.

“Bariatric surgery is the only effective treatment, and consequently such surgeries are common.”

I guess all that public health stuff I talked about for so many years was wrong. I thought an effective treatment for obesity was diet and exercise. Shows you what I know.

(I really have only one good gastric bypass, or “fatpass,” story to tell. It’s about a colleague of mine who was overweight and wanted to get the surgery. However, he was not big enough to meet the insurance company’s criteria for payment. So in order to get his surgery, he ate everything he could in order to gain poundage so he could have an operation to slim him down.

He got his surgery, and another friend of mine called him the next day to see how he was doing. One of the ways that gastric bypass surgery works is by decreasing the size of the stomach so you can eat less food at a sitting. My other friend was thus understandably stunned to find that the post-operative period was featuring a pan of brownies. “One thing I’ve noticed, though,’ said the erstwhile eater. “After the surgery, I think I have to eat them one at a time.”)

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