Friday, August 19, 2005


If we're going to use NASA engineers to prove "the existence of a generation which can communicate only in point form", then perhaps we can use this Chicago Tribune op-ed as evidence that we have a generation of doctors with no freaking sense whatsover:
As an internist caring for more and more morbidly obese people, I am so tired of reading about the feeble attempts of the government and the food industry to address the epidemic of obesity. The only effective way that we will attack this epidemic is for the surgeon general to mandate that, effective immediately, all portions of food served in restaurants and fast-food places be cut by one-half to two- thirds.


Cutting portions in fast-food places and restaurants is the only solution. I know it is a novel idea, but we have to do something radical soon to reverse this trend.
[Balko's emphasis]

I know the term gets tossed around pretty casually, but I really think this guy is, well, an idiot:
Meals in American restaurants and fast-food places are very inexpensive by international standards. The proprietors could continue to charge the same price for a smaller portion and I guarantee their sales would not decrease.

Sure, because no one eats out because they're pleased with what they're being served for the price they're paying, they eat out because it's become "the way of life". Also, any customers they lose because of the smaller portions will be balanced out by new customers, attracted by the... OK, maybe it doesn't make that much sense.

He also seems very confused about his role in his patients' lives, or at least is unwilling to communicate it to them:
Patients are often upset that I target their obesity as the cause of the problem. Overeating is "their right" and I, as their doctor, should fix the problem.

I don't know what they teach in medical school, but shouldn't he be telling these patients something like this: "Look fatty, if you want to solve most of your problems, stop eating so damn much. That is my considered medical opinion. I'm prescribing a treatment that will save you money, not cost you any. If you don't like it, keel over and die in 5 years. I'm not your mom, your wife, or your keeper - I'm a doctor."

But it appears he believes I'm missing the point:
Other patients are frustrated by their inability to lose weight and maintain the loss because they live in a virtual candy store. Everyday life in America is just too tempting to adhere to a diet for any length of time.

There's your problem with America, right there: "too tempting".


At 3:09 p.m., Blogger sacamano said...

To be fair, I think in this section the last line is his patients' opinion, not his own:

Patients are often upset that I target their obesity as the cause of the problem. Overeating is "their right" and I, as their doctor, should fix the problem.

In other words, I think he is telling them exactly what you wanted him to tell them ("Look fatty, . . . ") and is getting pissed at the reaction of patients who want him to just "fix the problem" without telling them to stop eating so damn much.

In all other respects, however, he's totally bananas.

At 3:51 p.m., Blogger Matt said...

I don't get the expression that he IS telling them that. I get the impression that he's nodding his head, meanwhile thinking, "The Surgeon General really needs to initiate the Portion Police."

Maybe I'm wrong - but why does he believe that "Patients are often upset that I target their obesity as the cause of the problem" is a further problem that needs to be addressed?

It seems to me that a sensible doctor's reaction to this would be, "Many of my patients are very immature, and think they have the right to both be healthy AND eat as much as they please. No imaginable directive from the Surgeon General would have an effect on this immaturity."

At 10:47 p.m., Blogger The Monger said...

Is he an idiot ("I need to tell people how to live!") or is he evil ("I have the right to tell people how to live!")? Either way, it's proof that 12 years of post-secondary education is no match against some people's intrinsic flaws.

Did I mention I like PowerPoint?

At 6:49 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

The solution to all life's ills is more nanny-state regulation; how daltonmcguintyesque.

This guy managed to lose weight on a fast food diet by eating relatively sensibly and by exercising. Maybe our good doctor should spend his (her?) time counselling patients on the benefits of walking a few laps around the block rather than mounting a political campaign.


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