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Obese in Rio de Janeiro treated like horses

Rio de Janeiro hospitals have been sending obese people to share medical test equipment with horses at the local race track, drawing complaints from activists who say the practice is humiliating.
/ Source: Reuters

Rio de Janeiro hospitals have been sending obese people to share medical test equipment with horses at the local race track, drawing complaints from activists who say the practice is humiliating.

“When people weigh more than the standard equipment can support they have to be directed to the Jockey Club, which is the only place in Rio where they have the appropriate equipment,” a spokeswoman for the Rio state health secretariat said on Wednesday.

Patients needing stomach reduction surgery require a tomography, or multiple X-raying of body sections, which is normally carried out inside a chamber.

Rio hospitals only have standard tomography equipment for people weighing up to 265-287 pounds (120-130 kg). Tomographs used on horses are sturdier and more spacious than common devices.

Rosimere Lima da Silva, head of the Group for Salvaging Self-Esteem and Citizenship of the Obese (Graco), said many patients feel embarrassed to go there.

“The obese patients already suffer from a lot of prejudice and having to be treated where animals are is not helping their self-esteem. Many simply refuse to go,” she said.

Graco staged a small protest on Tuesday outside the state legislative assembly and met some legislators to try to oblige hospitals to buy stronger equipment, including stretchers and wheelchairs for the obese, and to authorize more hospitals to perform stomach stapling surgeries.