Some weeks the world gets even crazier. A man in Sydney has successfully sued his GP because the GP “failed” to refer him for gastric surgery. The verdict is being appealed. The man was significantly obese. He also had liver problems and developed liver cancer. The man’s case is sad.
However the judge was of the view that surgery would have made all the difference. In reality some people benefit from gastric banding or other forms of bariatric surgery. Others do not and lose no weight or put it back on. This is much the same with any form of weight management. Furthermore he could potentially have died from complications of surgery. This is rare but not unprecedented.
And of course there are multiple factors involved in the development of liver cancer. If it was just obesity then it would not be a rare form of cancer.The key point here is who is responsible for the decisions made by a competent adult.
If someone chooses to eat too much then they are free to do so. Nobody can claim that they are not aware or could not easily find out about possible health complications of being morbidly obese (this is a BMI over 40).
The fact that people know this but choose not to make any changes is their right. The consequences are also their responsibility. If doctors are to be responsible for weight management by adults then the next logical step is that doctors will need to do the shopping and meal preparation for patients. Indeed they will need to be there at meal times too as supervisor. And probably through the day too so that no chocolate bars are snuck in.
In other words be a full time nanny.
This may be the ultimate dystopian fantasy of those who promote the nanny state.
In New Zealand a coroner found that drinking too much Coke caused the death of a woman. She apparently drank up to 10 litres per day. “ … were it not for the consumption of very large quantities of Coke it is unlikely she would have died when she died and how she died.” He found she was “dependent” on the drink.
He recommended the Government impose caffeine and sugar warnings on soft drinks!
It is sad that this lady died at a young age, reportedly of a heart attack. This condition has multiple factors. It is interesting that the lady’s mother has a better understanding of the situation than the coroner. She was quoted as saying “It was her choice to drink Coke”.
Soft drinks be it cola or others have lots of sugar and some have caffeine. This is public information and is written on the can. If someone chooses to drink 10 litres per day of soft drink, that is a choice. Neither the government nor anyone else is responsible for that choice
Are we to find a full time nanny to monitor soft drink consumption by adult citizens?
There has been much handwringing about the “revelation” that Chrissie Swan has smoked a few cigarettes during pregnancy. We all know smoking is harmful. Yet some choose to continue to smoke.
More nannies required to monitor this?
Yes there are potential effects on the baby and of course it is best not to smoke whilst pregnant (or at all). It is also worth noting that in the 1950’s and 60’s well over half the population smoked. Many of you reading this would have had mothers who smoked and you are here and fine.
The public reaction has verged on hysterical. Everyone has had gratuitous advice. Some called for the baby to be taken off her! Really? This is her business not ours. An easing up followed a mea culpa and public tears. It is as if the sanctimonious had been offered a pound of proverbial flesh.
And that is the key. Health is not a religion. The sanctimonious and holier than thou zeal that some bring to it is appalling. Your health is in your hands. Others are neither responsible nor have they the right to dictate or sit on some high moral ground.
We all make choices. We can choose to make different ones if we get new knowledge. The choices remain ours, as do the consequences for better or worse.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.