‘Weight Loss Ward’ to be featured in ITV1 documentary

One of Britain’s first dedicated obesity hospital units will be shown tomorrow night in an ITV1 documentary fittingly titled ‘Weight Loss Ward’. The hospital featured in the documentary is Sunderland Royal Hospital – in an area where shockingly more than 40% of the adults are overweight and such a ward is needed.

In fact as the national obesity epidemic continues to get worse and the NHS feels the impact of the £500 million it is losing from such problems, it will be no surprise to see more of these ‘weight loss wards’ appearing up and down the country.

Everything on these wards is super-sized. The doors have to be twice their usual width, every wheelchair has been reinforced with extra strength and could even fit two people with a normal ranged body mass index (BMI) and the beds are monstrous in their size.

Staff members at the hospital have been forced to use 50 stone max weight industrial strength scales to determine how much one patient weighed – 29-year-old Terry Gardner who was eventually found to tip the scales at 47 stone after previously being housebound for a year before being admitted to the hospital.

Terry is one of the largest patients ever treated at the Sunderland weight loss unit; too big to fit through his own bathroom door and his weight means he cannot use one of the reinforced ward beds, forcing staff to draft an even stronger one in from elsewhere and costing them £150 each day.

Terry’s story along with that of several others on the ward, will be featured tomorrow in the documentary. Viewers will see Terry pictured in his wedding photo just ten years prior, cutting a more drastically slender figure. He and many other patients are at their last resort at hospital and hoping for surgical intervention to basically save their lives. The documentary will show possible reasons why they have reached the size they are, the harsh truths about gastric surgery and what the weight loss surgery means to them – as well as the massive demands places on the shoulders of all the staff working at the unit.

One of these demands is keeping Terry to adhere to his strict 1,500 calorie per-day diet. They have decided this low calorie intake is essential for him to lose weight initially as he is too unhealthy to go in for a weight loss operation.

Tragically, Terry’s father passed away when just eight years old and he found himself put into care at 12. Now the father of two young children himself, he finds himself too big to wash his own body. He explains: “I feel like my weight is eating my life. There are times I say to my wife, why are you here? I am trapped in my own body.”

In the programme, consultant surgeon Peter Small does not hold back in his honesty of Terry’s situation and initial slow progress in shifting any weight. He says: “There is no medical problem that is causing people to be obese. The vast majority of people are obese because their calorie intake over time has not matched their calorie burn. The usual patient we get has been trying all the diets under the sun and all the medicines under the sun and they’ve failed. And they’re just crying for their life back.”

Regarding Terry, Mr Small explains: “We want him to confront his behaviour. He is almost pathologically obese, but why? Often complex psychological factors cause people to overeat.”

After being admitted on to the ward, Terry is provided with some basic exercises to carry out on his Zimmer frame. Mr Small says: “I have had younger and lighter people than him die on me while they are still on the list. But if we can get a balloon into him, it will help.”

However, in the documentary, Terry’s progress is shown to be minimal at best following three weeks on his 1,500 calorie-a-day diet. In fact, after three weeks he has lost just a single pound and staff suspect he has been allowed to buy crisps and fizzy drinks from the hospital trolley. “He is not cheating me… he is cheating himself. But it costs £100 a day to keep someone here”, says Mr Small, who is also irritated by Terry’s claim of an under-active thyroid being the cause for his weight gain. “Until he’s honest, we can’t help him. If he wants to bite the hand trying to not feed him…”

After a month though, the realisation of his grim situation has finally hit home with Terry and remarkably he has managed to lose a stone. “I think he realised if he didn’t help himself, we wouldn’t,” says Mr Small. Due to Terry’s shift in attitude and continued weight loss, he will soon be able to have a gastric balloon op.

With Gastric surgery costing an incredible £8,000, those who are obese could try clinically proven weight loss medication such as Xenical or XLS-Medical Fat Binder. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet in conjunction with one of these scientifically proven weight loss aids can help you lose weight and avoid ever ending up inside a weight loss ward such as the one at Sunderland Royal Hospital. Both Xenical and XLS-Medical are available today from Medical Specialists Pharmacy at incredibly low prices.

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