Friday, April 27, 2007

If they won't help themselves, neither should we

The lastest episode of House, as shown here in the U.K., was quite good. This morbidly obese man-slug was admitted to the hospital after lapsing into a coma and, until it was discovered that he actually had cancer, he refused to believe that any of his problems were related to his outrageous, 450 lb. weight.
The young Aussie doctor, Chase, wondered aloud why, "if we don't give liver transplants to alcoholics and if we don't treat non-compliant diabetics, why should we waste time and money on those who are clearly eating themselves to death?" I was in agreement with this.
But treat the man they did, because, amazingly, morbid obesity is listed as a condition for which treatment cannot be refused. Of course, given the state of most couch-potato, car-addicted Americans, who probably think sidewalks are there purely for show, I wasn't really that shocked to hear that. Hey, if we're all a nation of fatsos, then we can't discriminate on a condition with which most of us are afflicted, eh? (And that may have sounded incredibly anti-American for a guy like me who's normally a don't-fuck-with-my-country patriot, but I considered THIS particular comment a form of tough love.)
I guess the show was making the point that, hey, this guy had an illness that really wasn't related to his mega-portly condition. But that doesn't take away from what Chase originally said. If someone just cannot stay away from food in the same way others can't help staying off drugs, booze, cigarettes or gambling, then they need to seek professional help. And if they've done nothing to help themselves kick the very addiction that's killing them or severely harming their chances of leading a healthy life, then we shouldn't spend one penny or one second trying to save them. To do otherwise would amount to a total abdication of the notion of personal responsibility. It may sound cruel, but ultimately that must be the medical profession's—and the public's—position.

1 comment:

abel said...

How far behind is UK TV to Amerincan TV. I think I saw previews for that episode but seems like it was back in March or something