Saturday, December 29, 2007

Google ads can be quite telling

One of my Google ads today:

Gastric Bypass Lawyers
Over $6.2 Million in Gastric Bypass Settlements. Free Consultations.

I think we are going to start seeing more and more of these kinds of ads, including billboards, as gastric bypass surgeries increase. There is a LOT that can go wrong, and deaths are unacceptably high. How many fat-acceptance folks out there can say that their doctors have recommended surgery to make them thinner? The procedures are hyped with scare tactics and shaming: You're going to die if you don't do this. You're going to get diabetes. You're going to have a heart attack. You'll never get married if you're fat. You won't have any friends like that. Don't you want to wear nice clothes? Don't you want your children to have a mother when they grow up? Do you really expect your husband to stay faithful?

Once a patient has been frightened and guilt tripped into getting a gastric bypass, they may have a pretty damn good case for not having been properly been presented with the risks and huge changes associated with the procedures. After all, s/he was a doctor, right? So s/he must have known what s/he was talking about, right? And there are many doctors out there who get offended and pissy when faced with well-informed patients who can advocate for themselves. I am lucky enough that my doctor is smart and well-educated, but I've been at the mercy of others in the past who refused to even order tests for problems for which I later tested positive. I'm sorry to any physicians who may be reading this, but there are people who are good at their jobs, and there are people who are incompetent, in any line of work, including medicine.

I am losing track of my point here, but it is basically this: We have this hot new trend of amputating healthy, functioning organs for the sake of losing weight. These operations are complicated, and they have a LOT that can go wrong, horribly so. Skilled, competent surgeons are important for getting it done right, but there aren't enough of them to meet demand, so there are a number of less skilled, inexperienced folks out there cashing in on the demand. It seems to me that the risks involved, however, are totally glossed over, as if people believe that, "Hey, it's better for you to be dead than fat, right? Who cares if a few fatties die from the procedure, as long as I don't have to see as many of them out in public, it's win-win."

That, my friends, is a problem. I don't think someone should be guilted, shamed, or terrorized into getting this surgery. I don't think it should be pushed on someone at ALL. If a person wishes to have it done, and they fully understand the risks involved, then more power to them. But it irks me that bariatric surgery is such big business that it fuels an entire malpractice industry on its own.


vesta44 said...

It makes me wish I had found FA years ago, before I had my WLS. I might not have had it at all then. And if I had found FA when the stapling came undone, I would have been informed enough to have filed a suit against my nurse practitioner who recommended it and the surgeon who did it. But since it's been 10 years, too late now for me. I just hope it's not too late for anyone else to sue when they have complications, or families to sue when a loved one dies from this WLS shit.

sweetnfat said...

Thank you for writing on this. It really made me think about WLS. I'm very glad that I made the decision not to go ahead with it earlier in my life, despite everyone around me telling me it was the only way to live and be healthy. I felt like a lone conspirator before, but seeing posts like this one make me feel not so alone.

Vive42 said...

it's weird, because with my eating disorder i'm used to thinking that it's better to be dead than fat- but i don't expect that sort of thinking in "normal" people!

anyway, agree with you (and the FA movement) completely on the WLS thing!