Clinician challenges in providing health care for a morbidly obese family member: A bariatric case study

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3 Scopus citations


Morbid obesity is a chronic disease affecting millions of Americans. The disorder is likely to increase in prevalence because currently one third of the American population is obese. Many factors are associated with morbid obesity, including psychological (eg, depression), physiological (eg, hypothyroidism) mechanisms, sleep disorders (eg, sleep apnea), drug therapy (antidepressants, antidiabetic agents, steroids), and genetics. Increasing numbers of morbidly obese patients are requiring critical care, presenting major challenges to professional staff across the disciplines. This manuscript presents a case study describing the experiences of a morbidly obese woman in the final years of her life from the perspective of her health professional relative. The patient typifies many of the major risk factors for morbid obesity; her story reveals many of the issues faced as she revolved in and out of the critical care and acute care system. Her substantive health problems affected multiple body systems and included hypothyroidism, congestive heart failure, hyperlipidemia, and subclinical Cushingg€™s Syndrome, likely related to previous medical therapy (cortisone) for rheumatic fever in childhood. The case description addresses many integumentary system issues the patient experienced; skin injuries and infections that can pose serious life-threatening situations for the morbidly obese patient must be prevented or treated efficiently. Health professionals can learn a great deal and improve the care they provide by listening to morbidly obese patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalOstomy Wound Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nursing(all)
  • Gastroenterology


  • case study
  • critical care
  • morbid
  • nursing care
  • obesity


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