A zoo in Prague is set to build a special unit within the zoo to treat extremely overweight patients in a bid to cope with the countries 80,000 ‘super obese’ population.
The UK authorities have, as yet, declined to offer a similar service for patients in the UK. London zoo and the Royal Veterinary College will continue to focus their efforts on animals for the time being, they have said.
The Mirror reports:
Czech officials drew up the plans for extremely overweight patients after discovering the only facilities large enough to handle some people are at the local zoo.
Patients complained about being sent for medical treatments using equipment normally reserved for animals – so now they are thinking about setting up a special people-only centre.
Stepan Svacina, a doctor at the General University Hospital in the Czech capital, told Czech newspaper Lidove noviny that certain procedures demanded bigger tools.
He said: “We have special weight scales for those people who are extremely overweight but we cannot do computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging on them because they do not fit in the devices. Some of the obese patients have had to undergo these treatments in the local zoo.”
Around 200,000 people suffer from morbid obesity in the Czech Republic – regularly ranked as one of the fattest nations in Europe – and some 80,000 people suffering from so-called super obesity.
Obese patients will be given special surgery rooms with reinforced operating tables, stiffer and larger chairs and special beds, XXL lifts, and other medical equipment.
The practice of referring patients to zoos has reportedly also taken place in the United States where obesity has reached epidemic levels.
But in the UK vets and zoos have said their machinery is more commonly used for horses and is only licensed for use on animals.
London Zoo denied taking obese patients and a spokeswoman for the Royal Veterinary College confirmed they have been approached but said no.
She said: “We have been approached on several occasions but have always said we are only licensed to perform scans on animals.”