Fat and Not Afraid

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Too Fat to be a Parent?

June 17, 2012

Last week I posted a piece on whether or not doctors are stupid or blind when it comes to kids with obesity. Apparently now I need to be asking a similar question when it comes to lawyers and children's welfare advocates. An Ottawa man is fighting to regain custody of his children after they were taken away a year ago from his ex-wife's house when she was hospitalized for a suspected overdose. He hasn't seen his boys since, despite dropping a significant amount of weight (dude used to be a powerlifter), taking anger management classes and quitting smoking pot. What else is it going to take for this man to get his kids back, and what the fuck was Ottawa thinking that putting two kids into foster care was a *better* solution than letting them stay with their dad? His own doctor is impressed with his overall progress, but the court appointed doctor from the The Royal Ottawa Hospital isn't so sure, saying:

"Regardless of how much weight (the father) may have lost to date, he will continue to be at risk related to his obesity for some considerable time. This will include not only his risk for major life threatening events, but also a lack of mobility and proneness to injury as was exemplified by (the father's) hobbling around on crutches when last seen individually. (The father's) health issues are magnified by his anti-authoritarian traits and refusal to follow recommended treatments. This also raises questions to his ability to make proper decisions in regards to his sons' medical, educational or psychological needs."

Because he wouldn't have a potentially life-threatening weight loss surgery he's now a bad father? I'd say, based on what we know about weight loss surgery, he made the *right* choice and will be much better able to be a dad with his innards intact, thank you very much. And if even the 'most highly skilled parent' can't handle his kids (jumping on the furniture is 'highly agressive?' Maybe the kids don't listen and run away because they're desperately unhappy in the foster care system), then maybe someone should be making the suggestion to this man and his family that they do counselling and classes together and SUPPORT THEM instead of tearing them apart. Also, why is a hospital that specializes in MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES having one of their doctors put on a child-welfare case, and dealing with an obese father? Seriously? That doesn't make any sense at all! Finally, I don't see the Royal's doctor treating this man with 'dignity, compassion and respect', but then again, that code of conduct may only apply to actual patients and not fat shlubs who don't listen to fancy pants doctors, amirite? (Oh noes! I'm being anti-authoritarian!)

I wonder if there are many other cases like this in Canada and maybe I just missed them because I tend to focus on American news, or maybe, thankfully, they're actually really rare. If you've got the spoons, please contact the Royal Hospital and let them know that being fat doesn't make you an unfit parent, and to please reunite this man and his sons ASAP.

Man in Ottawa, if you're reading this, I can't imagine what you've been through and what you continue to go through, but know that you've got a friend in me.

Royal Ottawa Health Care Group
1145 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1Z 7K4
Phone: 613.722.6521
Toll free: 1.800.987.6424
President and Chief Executive Officer: George Weber

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