A toddler – a toddler, a child of two years old who cannot yet walk with proficiency – in Saudi Arabia was given irreversible gastric sleeve surgery. That shit actually happened (It’s definitely a swearing day, you’ve been warned.)
What the fuck? What the fucking fuck? What the actual fucking fuck? The kid was two years old and his stomach has been amputated and his digestive system redesigned by a surgeon who has literally no idea what this means for his future or what is likely to happen as he, we hope, grows up.
What they do know is that he was put on a series of diets before age 2. At 14 months old he weighed 46 pounds and his parents took him to an endocrinologist who, finding nothing wrong with him, put him on his first diet. He gained 17 pounds. They assumed that the parents hadn’t followed the diet and put him in a clinic on a medically supervised plan. He gained 18 more pounds.
They did testing and could find nothing out of the ordinary. They had no idea why he was gaining weight on these diets, so they decided the next logical step was just to go ahead and perform a dangerous and irreversible surgery that has never been done on someone so young. Why bother to do the work to diagnose an issue when you can just cut up a toddler, I mean what do we think this is, an episode of House?
Let’s also remember that in order to have even a hope of absorbing enough nutrition to grow he will have to keep up with a nutrition plan and supplements. They are entrusting this to the same parents who they didn’t believe could follow a simple caloric restriction diet.
In fact, they found that during the 2 year follow up period:
The parents of the child did not comply with the provided instruction/s and more often showed a tendency to miss appointments and hence a regular time bound follow up was not possible.
And yet they still concluded
[Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy] may be used in very young children provided they have co-morbidities and no improvement with medical and conservative multidisciplinary management. In our patient, the weight reduction was significant and his associated symptoms resolved with time indicating its safety and efficacy.
Even if the parents had followed every instruction and made all of their appointments it would have been completely ridiculous to draw this conclusion from one study on one kid with a two year follow up. By the way, his “associated symptoms” were sleep apnea and bow leggedness. For that we have risked this boy’s life. Apparently it’s far more difficult to make a cpap mask to fit him than to hack up his guts.
I’ve called it a dangerous surgery but in truth I only have an idea of how dangerous it is for adults. Neither I, nor his doctors, can speak to the dangers of doing this to a child who is still rocking a bib and sippy cup. EDIT: The following information is for gastric bypass, gastric sleeve is a newer surgery that does less rearranging of the digestive system. There is not a lot of data yet on the procedure, but it is generally agreed to have less risks than gastric bypass:
The largest examination of mortality rates following bariatric surgery found chilling results: nearly 3% of the patients died after the first year and 6.4% at the end of the fourth year. Of those who had surgery in 1995 and had at least 9 years of follow-up, 13.0% had died. Of those who had the surgery in 1996 and 8 years of follow-up, 15.8% had died, and of those who had surgery in 1997 with 7 years of follow-up, 10.5% had died.Sandy Swarzc, on the Junk-food Science blog, compared these rates to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, matching Americans of the same age and BMI and concludes: “By best estimates, bariatric surgeries likely increase the actual mortality risks for these patients by 7-fold in the first year and by 363% to 250% the first four years. (from Linda Bacon’s Dreams on the Operating Room Table (Bariatric Surgery)
adhesions and polyps, massive scar tissue,advanced aging, anemia, arthritis, blackouts/fainting, bloating, body secretions (odor like rotten meat), bowel/fecal impaction, cancer (of the stomach, esophagus, pancreas, and bowel), chest pain from vomiting, circulation impairment, cold intolerance, constipation,depression, diarrhea, digestive impairment due to heavy mucus, digestive irregularities, diverticulitis, drainage problems at incision, early onset of diabetes, early onset of hypertension, electrolyte imbalance, erosion of tooth enamel, excessive dry skin, excessive stomach acid, esophageal contractions, esophageal erosion and scarring, feeling ill, gallbladder distress, gynecological complications, hair loss, hemorrhoids, hernia, hormone imbalances, impaired mobility, infection from leakage into body cavities (peritonitis), infertility, intestinal atrophy, intestinal gas, involuntary anorexia, irregular body fat distribution (lumpy body), iron deficiency, kidney impairment and failure, liver impairment and failure, loss of energy, loss of muscle control, loss of skin integrity, low hemoglobin, lowered immunity and increased susceptibility to illnesses, malfunction of the pituitary gland, muscle cramps, nausea, neural tube defects inyour children, neurological impairment (nerve and brain damage), osteoporosis, pancreas impairment, pain along the left side, pain on digestion, pain on evacuation, peeling of fingernails, potassium loss, pulmonary embolus, putrid breath and stomach odor, rectal bleeding, shrinking of intestines, stomach pain, sleep irregularities, suicidal thoughts, thyroid malfunction, urinary tract infection, vitamin and mineral deficiency, vitamin and mineral malabsorption, violent hiccups that persist daily, vomiting from blockage, vomiting from drinking too fast, vomiting from eating too fast,vomiting from eating too much (more than 2 ounces) . . . and best of all—weight regain (from Linda Bacon’s Dreams on the Operating Room Table (Bariatric Surgery)
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