It has been reported that overweight patients have died or suffered lasting harm because the NHS is ‘poorly prepared’ for the growing obesity epidemic.
The amount of people falling under the obesity category has risen dramatically in recent years and the NHS are struggling to keep up with the demands overweight people put on the UK health service.
Frightening reports have emerged that obese patients have become victims of unnecessary surgical errors and poor assessment off their needs as medical staff lack in-depth knowledge and specialisedÂ equipment to care for them correctly and safely.
Larger trolleys, wheelchairs and beds are needed to provide full care. According to official estimates, more than half of women and nearly two thirds of men are predicted to be obsess by 2050, so we need to gather the equipment fast.
A recent report published online in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, which is based on data reported to the National Patient Safety Agenc, points the finger of blame not just at the lack of medical equipment but also the insufficient knowledge doctors and nurses have to cope with obesity.
NHS staff need specialisedÂ training in order to prevent further errors and damage happening to obese patients in their care.
PresentlyÂ due to lack of medical training, overweight people face being accidently harmed during surgery and may be prescribed defective drugs as a result of their size not being taken into account.
This problem was identified after doctors at Central Manchester University Hospitals analysedÂ and compared every incident report related to obesity over a period of three years. They studied all incidences from 2005 to 2008 to identify any repetitive themes.
They discovered that 555 patient safety incidences were reported. Out of which a dominating 398 were related to obesity. 148 of these alone were due to incorrect assessment, diagnose or treatment an overweight patient in care.
1 in 10 incidents were classified as having caused moderate harm to the patient, while four suffered severe harm and sadly three died.
The most common single incident was associated with anaesthesia, with 63 people being effect by it. Anaesthesia occurs when medical staff find it difficult to successfully ventilate a patient or effectively clear their airway. If the procedure is not achieved in time the patient is at serious risk of suffocating due to lack of oxygen.
There were 27 severe incidences that lead to a patient needing critical care. Most of these were either a result of pressure sores or surgical errors. Surgical errors include haemorrhage, unintended damage to organs surrounding the operation site and deep vein thrombosis.
The majority of the 555 incidences involved inadequate medical equipment with either specially adapted equipment not being widely available or the current apparatuses, such as trollies and beds, being incapable of safely supporting the patients weight.
In 27 incidents the level of care dropped when their was not enough staff available to simply move the patients safely.
Dr John Moore, head of this investigation said: â€˜The occurrence of incidents resulting in severe harm or death highlights the specific dangers associated with the care of the obese patient.
â€˜Further planning and development of operation policies is needed to ensure the safe delivery of healthcare to patients.â€™