BANNOCKBURN, Ill., March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- For individuals 80-100 pounds above their ideal weight or with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40, daily challenges of accessing healthcare services, fighting job discrimination or dealing with social bias compound the medical problems associated with clinically severe obesity. "Weight prejudice is genuine bias," states Alan Bernstein, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., Chief Medical Officer of CORI. "Our team helps thousands of morbidly obese people with weight loss surgery and weight management, and while our primary focus is to address medical problems and co-morbid conditions, we also listen to and deal with the everyday challenges of the obese." Patients visiting CORI report that access to healthcare services poses repeated barriers including scales that cannot register high weight levels, skimpy patient gowns, inadequate examination tables and wheel chairs, or blood pressure cuffs that are not large enough to accommodate the upper arm. "I didn't anticipate that a hospital would have problems accommodating my weight," says Rheba Saunders, who recently had weight loss surgery and is using her restored energy level to keep up with two active youngsters. "During the birth of my daughter two years ago, I experienced complications related to the size of the anesthesiology tubes. I switched hospitals before my son was born seven months ago. That facility was more attuned to the special needs of clinically severe obese women, scheduling meetings with me, my obstetrician and the anesthesiologist before delivery to avoid the risks associated with obesity." According to Dr. Bernstein, Rheba's experience is not unique. "Every aspect of an obese person's medical care, including diagnosis and treatment, may be compromised because of size, and anything that we can do to alleviate or eliminate these factors is a high priority," says Dr. Bernstein. During the process of evaluating obese patients for surgical weight loss and explaining the options, CORI's multi-disciplinary professional team also acts as a sounding board and resource for driving quality-of-life improvements. Clinically severe obesity impacts workplace recognition and job promotions, too. Dr. Bernstein says many patients are humiliated by the attitudes of colleagues and superiors, especially when business success and overall capabilities are linked with svelte, physically appealing bodies. In the work setting, patients also complain about tight chairs, constrictive work cubicles, confining hallways and tiny rest rooms. Dr. Bernstein notes that the CORI team of professionals, which includes a psychological counselor, assists patients in addressing these situations and overcoming barriers to success. Dennis Tiede, who has lost more than 150 pounds since his weight loss surgery in September 2003, knows this situation all too well. "My weight seriously affected my self esteem and my ability to adequately do my job," explains Tiede. "I understand why my boss might have chosen to overlook me for advancement, especially since I saw no future for myself in the company. Now, with my health restored, I am confident that I can again contribute professionally. Others recognize these changes, too. I've had three promotions in the past nine months, tripling my income. Today, I'm in a management position, entrusted with an $8 million business and the livelihood of 42 employees." CORI acknowledges that psychosocial problems are also devastating to the clinically severe obese, with many individuals expressing frustration with social interaction as well as the quality and quantity of social contacts within the family, among friends and in the community. These issues spill over into mood disorders and mental well-being, with obese individuals expressing extreme distress with their overall quality of life. Ms. Saunders recalls a painful social memory, a situation she hadn't expected. "After two hours waiting in line at Six Flags(R) with my friends, I was terribly embarrassed when I couldn't fit on the ride. The attendant had me move aside, and I had to watch them all go on without me," says Saunders. "My friends and everyone around me knew what happened and why. It was really humiliating." Dr. Bernstein adds, "For all these reasons, our team approach to obesity includes not only an experienced bariatric surgeon, but also professionals who offer a supportive program that includes educational, nutritional, psychological and medical counseling. We are a hands-on, working team that continues to follow our patients' progress over the long term." CORI sponsors free health and info sessions in conjunction with acute care hospitals that are sensitive to the special needs of the clinically severe obese. Call 800-578-CORI (2674) or visit http://www.WeightLossSurgery.com for program dates and locations. About CORI CORI Centers are operated by MSO Medical, Inc. with its corporate office located in Bannockburn, Illinois (Chicago suburb). MSO Medical contracts with acute care hospitals to establish Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence under the brand name CORI (Centers for Obesity Related Illness). CORI has established centers in Illinois, Michigan, and New York. For more information, call 800-578-CORI (2674) or visit http://www.WeightLossSurgery.com.
SOURCE Centers for Obesity Related Illness