Wasted lives....by medicine?

As we learn on TV, surgery is the answer for all problems.  My experience has been that this is not really true.  I present two cases.


Case 1: Dominique Lanoise

She was a woman from Haiti, living in Florida with her 6 children.  Like most people she loved Fast food - in fact that's all she wanted to eat...that and fried, breaded Haitian food.  She continued to gain weight (probably had metabolic problems - lots of us do) until she became unable to leave her bed.  She actually had her own form of exercise when one of her daughters danced in her bedroom, to Haitian music.  Her life was reasonably happy.

Then entered a well meaning medical provider.  He decided she needed "life saving surgery", that is gastric bypass.

The gastric bypass was invented from the "Billroth II" when Dr Mason saw that his Billroth II patients had a rough time keeping a normal weight. "Ah", he thought, "perfect for weight control in overweight people".  But after he'd done several and followed up on his patients, he found serious nutritional deficiencies.

Turns out they don't really learn the basics of the digestive system in medical school.  I found that out when I asked an otherwise highly intelligent medical provider to explain the process of digestion to me, in the 1990's.  He gave me the simple explanation and when I said I knew that and needed more details, he said that's all he knew.

Reducing the size of the stomach, not only undermines the digestion of macronutrients like iron, proteins, fats (yes we DO need some fats) but also some 100 micronutrients we need on a daily basis.  Bypassing the first segment of the small bowel, causes more vitamin deficiencies.  Basically in examining these patients a  few years after their surgeries, Mason found nutritional deficiencies similar to starving people in third world countries.  He wrote about this in 1965 in medical journals and stopped doing gastric bypass.

It should have ended there, right?  Wrong.  Not only did the surgeons see a real cash cow in the growing numbers of obese people but gave Edward Mason heat for his warnings.

By the 1990's, the gastric bypass was proclaimed the best weight loss surgery by some medical groups and thousands of them were done.

Dominique Lanoise was born in 1970 and by 2010, after 6 kids, she weighed almost 700 lbs and was bedfast. Her husband had left her after she got so heavy but looking at the kids, I suspect some of them had different birth fathers. A kindly doctor decided she needed a gastric bypass.  But he couldn't find a surgeon who would operate on her unless she weighed 500 lbs or less so he gave her a diet to follow.  Initially, she lost weight down to 579 so the doctor told her she needed to lose more weight.  However, she was still too heavy for surgery so this doctor had her meals sent to her home.  At the next weigh-in (had to be done in a hospital), she'd gained up to over 600 again.  Turned out when her kids were in school, she had neighbors and friends bring her fast food.  So the good doctor found a surgeon who would do a gastric bypass on her at her weight.  A couple of months later, she was dead.  Truly being 689 lbs would have likely shortened her life but she might have lived until 47 or more had she not had that digestive system destroying surgery.

Case 2: Gerry

Gerry was a 71 year old, happily married.  He was diabetic and non compliant and despite taking him often to his medical providers, no medical providers warned him that he needed to do cardio and eat a low fat diet to control the diabetes or he would come to a bad end.  They prescribed medications.  He loved that because like Dominique, he loved fast food and hated exercise.  He was a highly intelligent man who worked as an aerospace engineer. In 2016. one of his toes turned black.  (He had already had 3 strokes - one hemorrhagic stroke in 2008 and 2 ischemic strokes, one in 2010 which rendered him unable to read blueprints and one in 2014 after he decided to ride his bicycle after not riding it or doing other exercise for a couple of years.)  So his family took him to the emergency room and they decided to do more than excise the toe.  They did a quadruple coronary bypass, a femoral to popliteal bypass (in the groin) and amputated a couple of toes.  He came home in February but three days later, he was running a high fever.  Back to the emergency room again.  Diagnosis: osteomyelitis and septicemia.  A strong guy, he actually lived after several runs of antibiotics and he came home in May 2016.  But of course, he refused to exercise or eat low fat (and avoid fast food)... well no medical provider emphasized the necessity of that... not a one.  And so soon, another toe turned black on the other food.  Meanwhile the first amputations didn't heal well. 

So they did another bypass in the other side of his groin and amputated the black toes.  Sent him home in Sept 2016.  But after 9 hours of anesthesia, and probably a fourth stroke after all the surgeries, his brain was heavily damaged.  On the internet it states that coronary bypasses on people over 65, raise their risk of dementia by four times!

No one really warned him that after lying on his back for so many months and not walking, he would have to do very intense therapy.  When he was in the rehab hospitals, they wouldn't even let him stand up (due to "insurance issues").  So when he came home, walks to the bathroom or kitchen leaning heavily on a walker, was the extent of his physical movement.  He had also developed incontinency.

He would say, sadly,"they fixed my heart and took away my brain."

Finally, his family had to put him in an assisted living home because he was a large man and his elderly wife was unable to take care of him.  But a couple of months later, more toes turned black.  This time he had a young surgeon, a new graduate of medical school.  This surgeon put a bypass in his lower leg and a stent in the other lower leg, and the amputated toes healed in a couple of weeks.

He was in rehab but they didn't really walk him a lot and then, went into skilled nursing.  After a short attempt at rehab (which he fought)... he would say "walking is way overrated!", he lay in bed.  He was 75 and at that age, with not much testosterone to maintain his muscles, he was unable to move much and in 2020, he had another stroke which made it difficult for him to eat and breathe.  He died in April 2020.


Both of these people would have been better off had medicine left them alone.  Be warned.  Surgery is NOT the panacea which TV portrays it to be.  Exercise (cardio exercise) and a low fat diet are the panacea.  No one warns about fast food but it's close to toxic, especially a regular diet of it.