There has been a lot of buzz lately about being “Too Fat” since Kevin Smith was kicked off a Southwest Air flight because he could not fit into one seat. Smith has gone on a verbal rampage against the airline and its policies, and the issue has been staying red hot for more than a week due to constant tweets, videos, commentaries, you name it!
As embarrassing as this may be (getting kicked off a flight), imagine how much more humiliation is to be endured if you are “Too Fat” for an X-ray, an MRI, or a CAT scan?!
I recently had a delightfully awkward dinner with six (6) physicians. As the only person without an M.D. attached to my last name, I had some moments of boredom when the conversation got too technical for me to follow with my limited medical knowledge. And then, after a couple glasses of red wine, the six physicians dropped the guard and opened their bag of “No Way” stories!
It started with a female nurse who was 6’8, and her sheer size and ominous presence caused the physicians to tip toe around her and avoid any questioning about the care given to the patients. Apparently the not so gentle giant nurse was so intimidating that the hospital staff would rather complete their responsibilities and hers before daring to interrupt her online game of poker.
And from then, the discussion naturally progressed to big stature patients and “too fat” patients. And there, I heard of it for the first time! Hospitals have great scanning equipment, but the equipment has its limitations. Apparently, there is something called Too Fat to Scan! Patients who are about 500 lbs have a very good chance of falling into that category! And then, what? Well, they are referred to the local zoo or Sea World because they have veterinary facilities fit for the medical needs of big mammals like everyone’s favorite- Shamu, the talented killer whale in Sea World, San Diego. One of the doctors had had the misfortune of needing to tell a patient he had to be referred to the zoo; luckily that patient was understanding, and did not complain about his plight.
Having a hard time to comprehend the idea of Shamu lending a helping hand to humans and volunteering his oversized scanner for certain obese patients, I did a quick google search and for my utter dismay discovered a case where a man had died in Germany in November of last year, because he refused going to a zoo for a necessary scan. The man and his family felt humiliated by the suggestions, and declined, causing his untimely death for lack of treatment!
So, if you think that getting kick off a flight is too embarrassing, think again! While you may be able to buy two fight tickets to ensure your spot, there is little you can do if you are rendered too fat to scan. Obviously obesity is linked to a number of heath problems. But if you are approaching the no fun “too fat” zone of no or slow return, spare yourself and your family the humiliation, do it now, and not when it is “too late.”