I’m a paramedic and over the past ten years I have become very concerned by the increase in morbidly obese patients who I have been attending. Most of these patients are very young, and suffering from illnesses, such as heart attacks and strokes in their early twenties, which are normally reserved for people in their late forties.
This change has brought about the introduction of bariatric transport ambulances in many Ambulance Services in Australia and around the world.
I attended a patient a few years ago who weighed 425kgs (that’s a lot of pounds) – he had developed chest pain and was unable to leave his bed due to his morbid obesity. When we arrived and started to treat him for a heart attack, it became apparent very quickly that he was not going to be able to fit through the doorway (even if we were capable of lifting him).
Over the period of some hours, we had a structural engineer arrive on the scene and determine how to remove part of the wall so that a cherry picker (crane) would be capable of lifting the poor man out of his house.
The emergency process, which would ordinarily have taken us less than 20 minutes to take a patient to the nearest hospital for definitive cardiac treatment, ended up taking us more than 5 hours, and eventuated with in a half demolished house. The patient lived, but died some months later in hospital due to complications such as bed sores. The poor man was in his late 30s….
I understand that losing weight can be difficult and that there is often a genetic of physiological reason for a person to become prone to morbid obesity, but as this morbid obesity story indicates, not making the changes which are necessary to improve your health will be much worse.