There was an article about fat people coming to emergency rooms to have things extracted from their folds of fat. According to the WWN, O Best Beloved, this is a serious problem and most vexatious to the good insurance companies, who do not know how to pay for all these "Navel Explorations". Things such as dead hamsters, pocket change, forks, food particles, and mummified canaries can disappear into the pannus of fat and cause serious problems with abdominal pain. The WWN says that this is a pandemic assaulting our nation's emergency rooms.
I need a copy of this article to show my staff doctors. We are discussing it this morning.
My staff, unfortunately, does not recall ever performing a "navel exploration", although he recalls once in his residency being charged by a very large, obese man who was a former motorcycle gang member. This gentleman was covered in tattoos and running down the hallway completely naked when he produced a knife from the hidden recesses behind his pannus of fat. I suppose that counts.
This occasioned comment from a nurse-or-EMT nearby, who mentioned that once, here in this very emergency room, a morbidly obese nursing home resident was brought in for back pain. It was found on physical exam that the patient had been lying on an ink pen for so long that it was growing into his back. I suppose that counts, as well.
No other "navel explorations" have been elucidated from the staff. How sad; I am getting a substandard medical education due to my lack of exposure to this major and growing plague of emergency rooms. However, my staff, who is a very nice gentleman who listened quite carefully to my first case presentation of the morning (This is a 40-year-old diabetic gentleman who developed a boil on his back one week ago and has been poking it with pins to burst it, with little success. Today he woke up with a much larger sore area and his girlfriend suggested he might have a calcium deposit or other life-threatening condition, and to come in. Exam reveals a 3-4 centimeter cellulitic region on the right shoulder.), has promised that the very next patient with such a problem will be reserved just for me.
"Do you suppose," he asks me, "that the 'plague of the calcium deposits' will be next on the Weekly World News?" Nurse-or-EMT chimes in. "Millions of Americans with this deadly condition, next." Laughter. She turns back to her work. "I just know I'm watching out for the lethal navel from now on."
This has been a public service announcement.