A recent episode of the cult-hit Scrubs had a bit where a morbidly obese man came in for treatment. The main character, JD’s, comment about the “dreaded” patient hit the nail on the head: “big patients are harder to treat.”
Things aren’t fitted for people over 250 pounds. Needles can be too small. Veins are harder to find. And, as Big Fat Blog mentions, big people don’t always fit in MRIs. Whether the difficulty in treating plus people is real or perceived, it’s clear that as a group, those who are over a BMI of 85% are much less likely to get appropriate treatment – or even to have appropriate diagnostics taken.
Are plus people harder to treat? I can see some routine treatments being difficult for some – but others being much easier. Wouldn’t some things be easier to find or do with more flesh as a canvas?
I’ve never experienced problems being treated except when I can’t get a doctor to look past my weight to other issues that need treatment. A particularly bad incident where I was suffering asthma and I was told to lose weight (to treat asthma – I when I was there because it was screwing with my exercise schedule?) is something I still haven’t forgiven, particulary when the next doctor gave me the asthma treatment recognizing I needed to be able to exercise to lose weight.
Nonetheless, it does make it seem like one of the big issues in people across the US getting larger is that the medical equipment is not getting larger with us. Which doesn’t make sense – if so many large people need medical treatment more often than their lower BMI-counterparts, why hasn’t medical equipment gotten larger? If there were that many large people needing treatment, wouldn’t medical suppliers have an economic impetus to produce larger options, and thus benefit from the fat-tax plus medical/pharmaceutical inflation?