Joe H., an American citizen and English professor, was working in Taiwan when he first contacted Dr. Huang at E-Da Hospital in Taiwan. Joe weighed 170 kg (about 375 pounds!), a morbidly obese patient. As with so many overweight individuals, obesity had led to numerous diseases for Joe, including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiac disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and varicose veins in his lower extremities. In addition, he was taking ten different medications for multiple medical problems and had developed a "duck-walk" due to severe degenerative changes in his knee joints.
When Dr. Huang reviewed his patient's medical history, he found that two years before, Joe had experienced a sudden-onset cardiac and respiratory arrest that nearly killed him. In a single year, Joe had been admitted and re-admitted to the hospital five times. Like many obese patients, Joe was well aware of his obesity-related diseases and had tried various methods to lose weight. Yet he could not manage to maintain healthy weight levels. Dr. Huang realized that Joe might soon die without treatment for his obesity.
Dr. Huang treated Joe with a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, a procedure that reduces stomach size and limits the amount of food the patient can consume. Joe recovered quickly and was discharged seven days after surgery. Three months later, his weight was down to 125 kg (about 275 lbs) and his blood pressure and blood sugar were approaching normal without the need to control these symptoms with drugs. He also no longer needed to wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask to keep his upper airway open during sleep. When the hospital last checked, Joe's weight was down to 75 kg (about 165 pounds).
Last updated on 30 December 2015
Before Leaving the Hospital: Get All the Paperwork
Impatient to be gone, and often suffering the woozy side effects of surgery and post-operative pharmaceuticals, patients too often find themselves back at home later, missing important documents that could have more easily been obtained on site. So before you hightail it out of your hospital or clinic, be sure that you have all of your important documents.
Generally, larger hospitals provide complete medical documentation as part of the standard exit procedure. However, some smaller clinics may rely more on verbal instructions, and they are less likely to build and maintain a dossier on your case.