When We Lose a Patient

One of the joys of weight loss surgery is we get to know people more than we do in general or trauma surgery. We see them through struggles with weight, we see them make great strides, and we appreciate those who keep trying no matter what.

Yesterday I heard that a dear patient died. Virginia was 65 years old, and had her Lap-Band placed in 2007. She took this task seriously, and she came to every support group we had. Over the course of her weight loss journey, she lost about 100 pounds, and kept it off.   Struggling sometimes, but always bouncing back, always coming to the office with a smile, and always making it to our monthly support group.

From a weight loss surgeon’s perspective you can’t ask more from a patient. Changing a lifestyle is difficult, especially difficult when you do it at 61 years old. But she set her mind that “I don’t know how long I have, but I am tired of carrying this weight.” Even when I told her that it is very difficult to change as you get older she said, “Dr. Simpson, I am going to prove to you that I will do this. I am going to be your model patient.” And she was.

Virginia Abner - Always smiling

We often see people come to the monthly support group pre surgery, and maybe a few visits after surgery- then they fall away. But there are those few who come on a regular basis- and funny thing- those are the ones that get to their goal and stay there. Virginia was a regular at our support group meeting- and people would ask her for advice, and she always said the same thing: “Never give up, measure your food, never be too full, and never be too hungry.

From Virginia we have learned – never give up, never give in. There is always more to learn about weight loss – and she did everything she could – right up to the end.

We will miss Virginia. For those who were fortunate enough to call her a friend, a memorial service will be at the Heritage Funeral Chapel on 6830 W. Thunderbird, Peoria, AZ on December 18th at 1 pm.

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

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