Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When DEATFATZ Isn't Just a Stupid Rhetorical Term

Lets talk about fat and death for a minute, shall we? I was reading a recent article linked  from SilentBeep regarding a man who died tragically after having WLS in an effort to better his position at his job. Before we even get into the twisted psychology of a world where people are practically forced into changing the state of their bodies just to get ahead. Lets talk about that death thing.  

See, because not only is life  different for fat people. Largely due to forces outside their control (that would be other peoples perceptions and attitudes) but so is death. We've talked here and other places about the disdain, dismissal, and out right hatred fat people often experience from the medical community. Well, there's this little thought-about fact that people commonly overlook; Coroners are Doctors too. 

One line from the WLS article stood out for me and brought this back into stark recall- 
"Three days later, Brooks was dead. At the autopsy, a Riverside County coroner found stomach contents leaking around the edges of the lap-band and more than a liter of pus in his abdomen. On her report she listed the cause of death as "peritonitis due to lap-band procedure due to obesity."   
*Emphasis mine*

My Immediate thought; 'Yes. Most thin people don't bother with Lap-band surgery so, of course, he was fat. Why the redundancy? Especially on a Cause of Death? Perhaps because Coroners have quite a habit of including 'obesity' on COD's. Even when the actual COD had nothing to DO with the decedents weight. Willie Brooks wasn't killed by 'obesity'. He was killed by an infection due to a botched lap-band surgery.  If Joan Rivers were to die during a botched botox injection (Surgical procedure according to Med Coding guidelines) would 'vanity' be listed as a contributing factor on her COD?  

Is this kind of thing rampant? Is it something that happens occasionally or in isolated situations? Who knows. The decedent in these kinds of cases isn't likely to complain. Less likely in fact, than fat living patients confronted with medical stigma who don't really have anybody they can reliably complain TOO.  So it gets left to the Coroner or family members. Unfortunately family is often inclined to, either go along with whatever, or in some cases, they may actually agree with the assessment no matter how invalid it might be.    

There are, of course, those who would question the possibility of people in the medical community actually doing these kinds of things / having these kinds of attitudes. To them I would only say-  
*REAL Trigger Warning*
  Following is a link who's comments are toxic in the extreme. 
  The post from which they thread is, quite possibly, worse.
*REAL Trigger Warning* 

If this is any indication of how some Emergency Medical personnel actually feel about fat decedents, what are we to think about anybody else in the field of medicine? Including Coroners. 

There is one other thing people might consider when thinking about this truly sad state of affairs. Beyond the theft of any dignity a person might be accorded after ones demise, there is the skewing of statistical data that could, in fact, effect the living. How many fat people have died in car accidents, been killed by falling objects, or after falling from heights? How many have been shocked, burned, murdered, or simply died inexplicably and had obesity or some tenuous relation to obesity included in their COD's? And how would that effect the calculations for the overall rate of death due to obesity which is taken directly from any mention of obesity in each COD? I mean, it's not like this kind of mathamatical / statistical inaccuracy hasn't happened before.       

So, yeah, I'm gonna have a little trouble trusting all those sparkly statistical pronouncements of the future perfect doom that might be (Unless somebody's got those winning Lotto Numbers for next week. I keep asking. Email me). More importantly I'd rather think about what's definitely happening right now. Like how there are Surgical Mills exploiting people in much the same way the Diet Industrial Complex has for years. Taring up peoples insides with what amounts to human experimentation (Now THERE's some statistics I'd be interested in seeing. If only we could get some clean numbers), pushing false hope (30% body mass loss on average?), lies (Ummm, remission of diabetes is NOT a 'cure'. That remission thing? Yeah, that's your clue.), and commercial disinformation (Watch any lap band Ad and Realize that you don't need WLS to do any of those things). All this just to get that check deposited, put you on the table under the knife, and get you out the door. Oh! Of course, because their concerned about your health

Mustn't forget about that.  

Muzak Therapy:
Hum / Stars


  1. And how would that effect the calculations for the overall rate of death due to obesity which is taken directly from any mention of obesity in each COD?

    I think the basis of your question is, as they say, "the money".

    It is said that some medical professionals wish to leave obesity off the cause of death, so as not to upset the relatives.

    However, I'd be surprised if they were not under instruction to list obesity as much as possible-which explains "peritonitis due to lap-band procedure due to obesity."

    NB His death was actually iatrogenic, or medically induced.

    The whole aim of the crisis is to fulfil the prophesies it has made.

  2. The other thing I find infuriating about this case? Here's a man, doing his job. Doing it well enough to maintain a long term temp position. Yet they won't hire him to a permanent position. Why? Is it a financial thing (they don't want to pay his healthcare)? Is it a race thing (Post Racial America does not now, nor has it EVER existed)? Or is it a weight thing?

    Maybe it's all of the above. Under the COVER of a weight thIng because size/weight discrimination isn't legally actionable. In most states, even if you can prove you weren't hired, promoted, paid at scale, or were fired for no other reason than your weight, there is NOTHING you can legally do about it.

    This man felt he had to radically alter his BODY in order to get ahead at his job. And it KILLED him.

    People will rail against the surgical mill (And rightly so), they'll bemoan the tragic nature of the situation. But will they examine the tucked up mentality in this country that makes people think that chopping up or strangulating their internal organs is a valid option for advancement in life? I doubt it.

  3. That link was possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever seen. I could take that from some nobody... but because it's a doctor, I'm even more appalled, frightened, and sick to my stomach. You were right to put such warnings with the link. That was the worst view into humanity I've ever seen.

    -Lexie Di

  4. Disgusting it, most certainly, is. More revealing? It's also three years old. That kind of filth has been going on for a LONG time. The media is only, just now, starting to say 'Hey, yah know; Fat People & Doctors. There's something not-to-kosher going on with that.' Ummmm, yeah guys. You might wanna take a break from your next scaretastic 'Obesity Causes Hearing Loss' article and take a look at the website 'First Do No Harm' (Fathealth.wordpress.com/). Check the archives. See how far back they go. This is not new, it's not isolated, and their, only NOW, calling people on it? Uhh, yeah. Thanks guys. I guess.