Alabama Bariatrics & Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bariatric Diet Orbera Gastric Band Sleeve Gastrectomy Gastric Bypass

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

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Contact Us

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791
EMail: drsuggs@alabariatrics.com

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covid-19Huntsville, AL - With a few weeks in, possibly more than a month in quarantine, it is safe to say that things are coming at a fever pitch. Some people are staying at home with restless kids, others are dealing with the insanity of working essential jobs. Also, there are people who have loved ones who are currently in the hospital or are deceased. Combine this with the cancellation of elective procedures; things are looking tough for weight loss surgeons and their patients. What can we do during all this?

Maybe there is a way for weight loss surgery patients, doctors, and others involved in the process to move forward. Just because a procedure is no longer on the schedule, does not mean that doctors and surgeons cannot help patients. We just have to look at what we are doing from a different perspective.

Understanding the Needs of a Patient during a Crisis

What we are going through as a nation is what counselors and psychologists call "experiencing a collective trauma". And in the middle of a trauma, things like maintenance, a healthy diet, and exercise go out the window. That is because, for all intents and purposes in our brains, this isn't normal. So, our mindset shifts to accommodate with the environment.

According to emergencycdc.gov, there are 4 ways people process information during an emergency:

·       We simplify messages, usually missing nuanced language or not remembering information the same way it was presented to us.

·       Communication gets muddied thanks to our tendency to hold onto personal beliefs and biases. This mindset creates a tendency to interpret or skew messages in favor of supporting those beliefs when a contradiction appears.

·       We look for additional information and opinions because we want messages to be confirmed before we take action. Sometimes, it comes in the form of looking to see what other people are doing or asking friends and neighbors.

·       We also believe the first message we hear and if we are not given one, we are quick to make stuff up and fill in the blanks to try and get an accurate picture.

So, what does this have to do with weight loss surgeries being canceled and weight loss surgery patients possibly going into relapse? Well, this can be an opportunity for weight loss surgeons to help bolster the counseling side of their business.

Why Weight Loss Surgery Centers Should Focus on Counseling

In an ideal situation, weight loss surgery patients would be undergoing some type of behavioral and weight management counseling. This would create a strong support system for the patient during their surgical procedure. Also, it would also give them the tools necessary to navigate their daily life in spite of any circumstances or stressors that could derail them from their own personal path to a healthier lifestyle.

But what can surgeons and patients get from focusing more on the counseling side of things?

·       Weight Loss Experts can Do this From Home

Unless a weight loss surgeon can literally perform surgery from 10 feet away in a sterile environment, the surgery itself is not social distance friendly. All you need for counseling, however, is telecommunication devices, an appointment time, and expertise on the subject matter you are counseling.

·       Patients Will Feel Supported

Did you know eating alone increases the chance of a person developing metabolic syndromes? Multiple studies on the topic have all but proven that loneliness increases the risks of metabolic syndromes. And it makes sense. Lack of social support can make it tough for people who feel less motivated. Then it translates to poor food choices. This can undo all the work that they have already put in while they were getting ready for their surgery day.

If you, as a medical professional take an interest in their diet, and what they might be dealing with during lock down, it would be a great way for them to feel motivated, and it would strengthen the doctor/patient relationship. This leads to my next point.

Both Patient and Doctors Can Stay Invested

While the surgery is canceled or postponed, that does not mean that it should count as an automatic business loss. It just means that it is frozen. You don't have to assume that the cancellation is the end of a business relationship. Like any relationship, personal or professional, it needs maintenance. If you go out of your way to maintain that relationship with your patient, they will remember you when it is time to go through with the surgery. And isn't that the goal for both of you in the first place?

If you want more advice about weight loss surgery in Huntsville, AL, visit us at www.alabariatrics.com