Thursday, August 25, 2005

Land of the Soft and Flabby

There's an astonishing story going on at the moment in New Hampshire, where a local doctor has been reported to the New Hampshire Board of Medicine.

Dr Terry Bennett, of Rochester, NH, told one of his patients that she was obese and, if she didn't start losing weight pronto, she was going to get very sick indeed. Not only did the patient not listen to the doc, she's reported him for hurting her feelings and the matter is now under investigation. Incredible.

Some Rochestarians have come out in support of Dr Bennett, including on Mindy Haney. According to the report in the New Hampshire Union-Leader, Dr Bennett told Ms Haney "Mindy, you're overweight and you smoke. You are going to get diabetes or cancer or have a stroke or heart attack." The doc's words proved all too prescient, as the misfortunate Ms Haney is now a diabetic, has had cancer and failed a stress test very badly.

So far, so sad. But check back to the Associated Press report, where Ms Haney also features. Ms Haney praises Doctor Bennett for helping her to lose 150 pounds weight.

150 pounds. According to this chart from the Weight Watchers support group, 150 pounds is the weight of a woman of medium frame ranging in height from 5'8" or so to six feet tall.

That's a big gal, and now she's completely disappeared. Gone. All six-foot, 150 pounds of her. Not here no more. Which begs the rather horrifying question: if Mindy Haney has lost enough body mass to make a six-foot woman, just what weight exactly was Ms Haney to begin with?

America, the country that built itself, that hewed a living from the wilderness (and slaughtered the indiginous population too, let's not forget that), has gone soft. Men hugging instead of shaking hands? People letting themselves go to such an extent that they can carry around enough fat to make a six-foot woman? Suing doctors for "hurting their feelings"?

If America doesn't want her Stars and Stripes superceded by a single Red Star or the Cresent Moon, she'd want to start toughening up quick.