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  • Child Abuse?

    I am an Operating Room nurse and have been for almost 20 years. When I went to work this morning my first case of the day was a gallbladder removal. Not an unusual start to the day, except that my patient was 12 years old and weighed 230 pounds.

    It was a nasty gallbladder, full of stones and the poor girl already has the start of fatty liver disease. When I gently suggested to her mom that she needed to help her daughter improve her diet and maybe should see someone to help her with that, she said, I kid you not, my entire family is big boned, she is not really that overweight.

    Mom was overweight as well, but not as big as her daughter.

    How do you help someone like this? I feel terrible for this poor girl. She is pretty much on the path to a life of pain and suffering.

  • #2
    "Bone's don't jiggle." All you needed to say
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    • #3
      Nothing compared to this: Morbidly obese two-year-old from Saudi Arabia youngest person to have gastric bypass surgery - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent
      How ON EARTH the child wasn't taken from the parents instead of being internally mutilated for life I don't even... oh, wait, Saudi law, nevermind.
      --
      Perfection is entirely individual. Any philosophy or pursuit that encourages individuality has merit in that it frees people. Any that encourages shackles only has merit in that it shows you how wrong and desperate the human mind can get in its pursuit of truth.

      --
      I get blunter and more narcissistic by the day.
      I'd apologize, but...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kochin View Post
        Nothing compared to this: Morbidly obese two-year-old from Saudi Arabia youngest person to have gastric bypass surgery - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent
        How ON EARTH the child wasn't taken from the parents instead of being internally mutilated for life I don't even... oh, wait, Saudi law, nevermind.
        To be fair, I bet the same thing would have happened here... :P
        Out of context quote for the day:

        Clearly Gorbag is so awesome he should be cloned, reproducing in the normal manner would only dilute his awesomeness. - Urban Forager

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wildrose View Post
          To be fair, I bet the same thing would have happened here... :P
          True. The funny thing is, so many people still say "But maybe there was something else wrong, maybe it wasn't his diet. Maybe it was his METABOLISM!" whilst ignoring the fact that hacking out 2/3 of the stomach is basically enforced caloric restriction. In other words: if the parents had fed him the prescribed calorie-restriction diets, he'd not have needed to have his innards irreversibly altered. And yet people feel the need to defend their notions of dieting first, rather than accept that what happened to this boy is child-abuse.
          --
          Perfection is entirely individual. Any philosophy or pursuit that encourages individuality has merit in that it frees people. Any that encourages shackles only has merit in that it shows you how wrong and desperate the human mind can get in its pursuit of truth.

          --
          I get blunter and more narcissistic by the day.
          I'd apologize, but...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by leighlu View Post
            How do you help someone like this? I feel terrible for this poor girl. She is pretty much on the path to a life of pain and suffering.
            My heart goes out to you. I can't even imagine how agonizing a day like this must be for you. My 15yo DD has a classmate who just had gallbladder surgery. I don't know the girl, but now I'm wondering if she isn't obese too.

            Where is Dr. Lazarus? He seems to be pretty good at giving his patients the diet smackdown. As a nurse, you may need a Dr to step up and do the dirty work, though. And even that may not be enough...
            50yo, 5'3"
            SW-195
            CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
            GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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            • #7
              How do you help someone like this? I feel terrible for this poor girl. She is pretty much on the path to a life of pain and suffering.
              The very sad part is at that age, she probably would like to lose weight and like most teen girls, is worried about her appearance and not as blasé about the weight as her parents. It's hell being a fat teenage girl.

              http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
              Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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              • #8
                I don't think it's child abuse, it's just plain ignorance coupled with a predisposition to weight gain and other metabolic symptoms. I don't think they're deliberately trying to hurt the child or punish them or teach them anything. I was about that weight at the age of 12 too and my parents tried very hard to figure out what was wrong with me. I clearly had hormonal problems from a very early age but I also ate a lot of things in secret because my appetite had no boundaries, and this usually occurred either at friends' or family members' houses and especially at school. My parents never directly encouraged poor eating habits (no soda or junk food in the house, whole wheat bread, no sugary cereals, mindful portions, etc.) but probably indirectly did through their own habits. It's complicated. Believe it or not, many children do know right from wrong food choices and what is considered overeating. I started dieting at age 9. Once your metabolism and hormones are in disarray, everything changes. Appetite, energy, moods, etc. it's even more difficult when you start life out in such a state. It only gets worse with age, which is why it's so important to correct it immediately. I can tell you from experience that once you're already morbidly obese by age 12, the foundation has been set and it will take a lot of personal effort to reverse it.

                And what's probably completely overlooked in this situation is that the child is probably severely malnourished. If I knew then what I know now... Sigh.
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                “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

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                • #9
                  Parental blinders can get weird. When I originally went from 265 to 240 my mother started researching bone cancer, anorexia, and tropical parasites in a 100% sincere effort to save my life.
                  37//6'3"/185

                  My peculiar nutrition glossary and shopping list

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by picklepete View Post
                    Parental blinders can get weird. When I originally went from 265 to 240 my mother started researching bone cancer, anorexia, and tropical parasites in a 100% sincere effort to save my life.
                    I think this stems from the Depression era. My nanny and grandmother lived during those times and were raised by Italian peasant immigrants, like all of their friends and relatives, so eating was always encouraged. Going without food was hard wired into many due to scarcity, so an abundance tended to encourage excessive eating just because it was there and that's how many families show love. The first word I learned in Italian was mangi.
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                    “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by j3nn View Post
                      I don't think it's child abuse, it's just plain ignorance coupled with a predisposition to weight gain and other metabolic symptoms. I don't think they're deliberately trying to hurt the child or punish them or teach them anything. I was about that weight at the age of 12 too and my parents tried very hard to figure out what was wrong with me. I clearly had hormonal problems from a very early age but I also ate a lot of things in secret because my appetite had no boundaries, and this usually occurred either at friends' or family members' houses and especially at school. My parents never directly encouraged poor eating habits (no soda or junk food in the house, whole wheat bread, no sugary cereals, mindful portions, etc.) but probably indirectly did through their own habits. It's complicated. Believe it or not, many children do know right from wrong food choices and what is considered overeating. I started dieting at age 9. Once your metabolism and hormones are in disarray, everything changes. Appetite, energy, moods, etc. it's even more difficult when you start life out in such a state. It only gets worse with age, which is why it's so important to correct it immediately. I can tell you from experience that once you're already morbidly obese by age 12, the foundation has been set and it will take a lot of personal effort to reverse it.

                      And what's probably completely overlooked in this situation is that the child is probably severely malnourished. If I knew then what I know now... Sigh.
                      I did similar things as a child. I saved my milk money and bought ice cream every other day. I spent all my allowance on candy. I stole candy at the store when my mom wasn't looking. I ate junk food at friends' houses. My grandma, who lived a block from my school, was pretty good at allowing me to have extra to eat after school. I would buy ice cream and cookies for lunch in Jr. High and in high school I threw out my lunch and bought candy and fruit pies at the on-campus store. (I grew up in the 70s - 80s. It was different back then.) My own mom had rules about food and treats, she cooked our food and we didn't have junk food in the house. My sister and I would sneak eat powdered sugar because there was no candy or cookies in the house.
                      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                        I did similar things as a child. I saved my milk money and bought ice cream every other day. I spent all my allowance on candy. I stole candy at the store when my mom wasn't looking. I ate junk food at friends' houses. My grandma, who lived a block from my school, was pretty good at allowing me to have extra to eat after school. I would buy ice cream and cookies for lunch in Jr. High and in high school I threw out my lunch and bought candy and fruit pies at the on-campus store. (I grew up in the 70s - 80s. It was different back then.) My own mom had rules about food and treats, she cooked our food and we didn't have junk food in the house. My sister and I would sneak eat powdered sugar because there was no candy or cookies in the house.
                        I would eat dinner at my nanny's house, then lie and say I didn't eat yet and eat again at home. Eventually that lie caught up with me, but I still found other ways to be deceptive. I remember being 3 or 4 years old, sneaking to the kitchen at night and eating a whole box of ice cream sandwiches then hiding the wrappers in a cabinet. I knew I wasn't allowed to, but it's amazing how sneaky and resourceful children can be behind their parents' backs!
                        | My (food) Blog | Follow me on Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter |

                        “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

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                        • #13
                          Even if the parents are doing their best (doesn't sound like it with the "big boned" excuse), where are they going to get help? Whatever nutritionist they get is only going to offer CW type diets.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by j3nn View Post
                            I would eat dinner at my nanny's house, then lie and say I didn't eat yet and eat again at home. Eventually that lie caught up with me, but I still found other ways to be deceptive. I remember being 3 or 4 years old, sneaking to the kitchen at night and eating a whole box of ice cream sandwiches then hiding the wrappers in a cabinet. I knew I wasn't allowed to, but it's amazing how sneaky and resourceful children can be behind their parents' backs!
                            I did similar things. I'd sneak food, hide food, steal food, steal money to buy food. My parents never allowed any sort of junk food in the house. Everything was home cooked, brown rice, vegetables, that kind of thing. I still remember being about 8 years old staying over at a friend's house, I repeatedly snuck upstairs and ate an entire box of cookies that evening. I was a pretty active child, I was on a swim team, rode my bike everywhere, was on every school sports team, and was put on a diet when I was 9. My parents did try to fix the problem but it just made me hungrier and I snuck more food. I was 300lbs by age 17. 100% my fault, not my parent's.
                            Last edited by lotusberries; 09-26-2013, 11:12 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I agree that it is abuse. As a parent you are obliged to take good care of your child until they reach the age they can take care of themselves. at 12 a child is not capable to make good life choices so the parent has to step in.

                              The excuses of ignorance are moot because the only way to be ignorant of your child getting dangerously overweight is not living in the same world as the rest of us. If you don't have internet or a tv than I can understand some ignorance but you can't turn on the telly without seeing programs about getting healthier and loosing weight.
                              Also claiming ignorance of how much your child eats is abuse, it's a clear sign of lack in interest and participation in your childs life. Now, I agree that when your child goes to school that you can't keep track of everything they eat but if you start to notice that it's already over-eating at home and is growing bigger than her peers you should step in and get more involved in their diet.

                              Also a parent should set an example. Not everybody can help being overweight. I know sugar addiction and certain health issues can cause people to grow overweight and they are not able to do anything about it but you can prevent your bad behavior to transfer to your child. Make better choices when they are around, then you can binge and eat all you want when they are at sleep or at school.

                              I don't know how it is in your region but here in Holland when you suspect child abuse you can contact certain authorities that will take it from you. Perhaps that is an option for you as well. Also maybe the child's doctor can point the mom in the right direction. Most people believe everything the doctor says.
                              My story, My thought....

                              It's all about trying to stay healthy!!!!

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