The Universal Patient



The above image is from artist Steve Cutts who he creates images which show how 40 hour workweeks are beating us down, and who we are chained to our smartphones.  Outlandish?  Well, the NY Times just did a nice piece on the revamped Parkland Hospital in Dallas which opened recently.   Each of the 862 single-patient rooms in the sprawling new 17-story tower was ready to accommodate the growing number of obese patients that hospitals across the country increasingly care for.  Hooray!  Why did they do this?

  • “We designed with this idea of the universal patient in mind,” said Jim Henry, an associate vice president of the architectural consulting firm HDR, which worked on the new building. “Any patient can go into any room. At this hospital, a patient doesn’t feel, ‘I’m going into a bariatric room.’ ”
  • “The bariatric population” — typically defined as patients having a body mass index of 40 or higher — “wasn’t an afterthought,” said Kathy Harper, vice president of clinical coordination, new campus construction, at Parkland. “They’re a very special population. We thought a lot about their needs and how to accommodate them.”

So that is how we are fixing our population’s health?  By admitting that the universal patient is basically a really fat patient?

And grading the doctor on his or her patient’s weight or blood pressure is a great idea, too, because it is our fault that there is an obesity epidemic.  Before you answer, how about another image:




Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “The Universal Patient

  1. Pat
    August 26, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    This madness will continue until we stop funding it. No gov’t-funded bariatric surgeries, no food our housing subsidies for these nuts or their enabling families, and certainly not for oversized, overpriced specialty beds in specialty hospitals trying to cater to this particular growth industry. Until society is willing to tell these clients that they have outgrown any reasonable access to care, we will keep seeing it. Go ahead and rip me for insensitivity, I don’t care – whether it be the other clients of a given insurance company, or the tax payer, someone else is bearing the cost for this lunacy, which is in turn encouraging its own growth. Big Insurance and Medicare/Medicaid are great at refusing to pay for things: here is a perfect opportunity to do just that!

  2. RSW
    August 26, 2015 at 8:51 am

    The second picture is one of the new rooms at Parkland, I assume?

  3. Ed
    August 26, 2015 at 7:58 am

    We opened a new Cancer Center a few years ago. 6 floors of private rooms. On each floor are 4 rooms designat Ed for “large patients”. The bed, chairs are quite heavy duty. The most interesting component is the oversized toilet with a 1000 lb (yes, a half ton) weight capacity.

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