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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Emergency Care & the Obese Patient

As a mortuary arts student, I have a lot of call to be grateful that my patients are already gone by the time I see them. As stressful as grieving families may be, they are the prime source of stress; I don't have to make life or death decisions. And I'm glad, because I ran across this page while I was surfing on a nurse board:

Emergency Care Considerations for the Obese

I have just spent a couple of weekends at the Red Cross taking disaster services classes (eh, why not?), and so now I'm certified in First Aid (which I think is a hoot considering my primary job). I did not consider the difficulties of the obese patient, and it wasn't covered in my class. It's likely few of the thousands or millions of people certified in First Aid have considered these issues. By the time you've got towels and dowels and God knows what else propping your unfortunate client up into the proper position, they will no longer be in the land of the living-- you only have a few minutes to work with!

And how about chest compressions? How are you going to know you're compressing a couple of inches when you've got tons of inches to worry about?

Obesity may be a condition you can live with, but only so long as you are certainly ALIVE. When you're in that gray area where you could possibly be saved by skillful action, that skillful action is made much more difficult. It's only 50/50 under the best circumstances!

posted by the Buddhist Mortician on the My Fat Spouse Forum

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