Weight Loss Surgery and Alcoholism…

A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” – Paul Simon, ‘The Boxer’

As many of us know these days, our society is pretty much just one con game after another. The vast majority of Americans are being hustled and scammed by the privileged elite. Most often, though, the scams end with the worker a bit poorer, locked into a service that doesn’t deliver or holding a product that doesn’t work as advertised. Buyer beware, right? But there’s at least ONE scam that I’ve become aware of that has deadly consequences and I REALLY think it needs to stop. It’s probably going to take a lawsuit but it’s going to be a tough suit to press. I’m referring to gastric bypass weight loss surgery.

The entire premise of gastric bypass weight loss surgery is hokum, comforting lies the surgeon tells the desperate would-be patient. “Oh, you eat too much? Well, we’ll just take out part of your stomach! That way, you’ll feel full sooner and stop eating. You’ll live on about a teacup full of food each meal. It’ll be awesome!” First problem: people who get large enough to warrant weight loss surgery don’t get that way by listening to their bodies. “Feeling full” is hardly a signal to them that it’s time to stop eating. Generally, they’re eating for other reasons. That leads directly to problem number 2, if a person could contain themselves to a teacup full of food per meal, they wouldn’t NEED weight loss surgery. The right way to lose weight is to modify your diet. Eat less. Eat better. Strange as it seems, the very fact that a person presents to a doctor for weight loss surgery should be seen as an indicator that said person is a poor candidate for weight loss surgery. If they’re going to be able to control their post-surgical diet, they should be able to control their pre-surgical diet and the fact that they CAN’T control their pre-surgical diet indicates they won’t be able to control their post-surgical diet.

But those operations happen all the time in this greed-driven, God-forsaken, once-great nation. In 2019, 278,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the US alone. As I mentioned earlier, a lawsuit to stop the surgeries would be a heavy lift. One presumes that the entities profiting from the surgeries take all the right legal steps. They “warn” the soon-to-be victim about the dangers and challenges of the surgery and have the patient sign releases and waivers. There’s a screening process that pretends to be about weeding out poor candidates but is REALLY about providing legal cover for the damage about to be done. The “screening process” is fairly loose and anybody with even normal intelligence can easily circumvent the contra-indicators. As indicated by Paul Simon, desperate, overweight people are only going to hear “you’ll lose the weight” and won’t really accept the “there are risks” part.

The medical profession KNOWS they’re about to ruin lives but the surgery is profitable. So, how do I know the what the medical profession knows about the surgery? Go to any search engine and search on ‘Weight loss surgery and alcoholism.’ The list that comes up is stunning in length. Worse, the sources of information are credible, medical sources. This ain’t ‘Bob’s Thoughts From the Basement’ or even ‘My Bacon Press’ opinions. According to the National Institutes of Health, alcoholism after weight loss surgery experienced “a relative increase of over 50 percent compared to pre-surgical rates.” The same report quotes Dr. Wendy King, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. “This is concerning, given the negative impact heavy drinking may have on vitamin and mineral status, liver function and weight loss.”

Here are two paragraphs from a Time Magazine article from 2011:

“The difference may lie in the mechanics of each surgery. In gastric bypass — technically known as Roux-en-Y surgery — the surgeon staples off a section of the stomach, rerouting food to bypass most of the stomach and part of the small intestine; this reduces the amount of food people can consume and the amount of calories that the body absorbs. By contrast, in gastric banding, commonly known as Lap-Band surgery, doctors use an inflatable band around the upper stomach to limit the amount of food it can hold — but food still must pass through the entire organ.

The intestines allow alcohol to get into the blood stream much more efficiently. And, generally, drugs that reach the brain faster are more addictive — for example, injected rather than snorted cocaine. So bypass surgery, by rapidly raising blood alcohol concentrations, could increase its addiction potential. Indeed, earlier research shows that after bypass surgery, a single drink can raise blood alcohol levels to the point of legal intoxication.”

So they know and they’ve known for a long time but the surgery is profitable so it continues without regard to the damage being done. I have to acknowledge, in fairness, people DO lose the weight but they don’t lose the underlying factors that made them big in the first place. They don’t lose the eating problems or addiction issues or negative self-image, depression, or other factors that expressed themselves in being overweight. I know a woman who got the surgery because she was about to develop Diabetes. She lost the weight but developed the Diabetes anyway and now has lost most of her toes, too. She now says she would have preferred to be fat and happy. I know another woman who was smart enough to fake her way through the “screening process” and hid her previous addiction issues and is now a full-blown, out-of-control alcoholic. It has already done irreparable damage to her life but this one is still playing out with the outcome as yet still unknown.

These two people, and likely thousands and thousands of others like them, didn’t heed the “warnings” offered by the surgeons. They only wanted the weight loss and that’s all they considered. On the other hand, the people who do the surgeries know darn good and well what they were doing to their patients. My position is that because the medical profession is the only entity with clear vision in the moment, the impetus should fall to the medical profession to NOT perform the surgery. But short of being legally blocked from performing the procedure?

I’ll tell you this: I suspect that they won’t stop voluntarily so long as the checks keep clearing…