January 18, 2006

Dutch clinics under strain from obese patients

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch hospital beds and operating
tables could buckle under the strain of obese patients, doctors
have complained, adding some patients barely fit into scanning

The Dutch are one of the tallest nations in the world and
obesity rates in the country are rising.

"Recently I had to shove two operating tables together in
order to operate on one heavy patient," surgeon Herman Mencke
told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper on Wednesday.

New operating tables can support a patient of up to 360 kgs
(790 lbs), but older tables show strain if weight exceeds 150
kgs (330 lbs), the newspaper reported.

A group of doctors first raised their concerns in Dutch
medical journal Medisch Contact, noting care workers faced
particular difficulties in lifting and manoeuvring heavy

The Dutch obesity association has responded to the
complaints, by urging hospitals to invest in more appropriate
equipment, rather than arouse misplaced feelings of guilt in
obese people.