So, the tubie parent community is fighting a two-front war!
I was going to take a break from special needs blogging, but when it’s timely, it’s timely.
To catch you up on the lingo,”tubies” are what some parents of tube-fed kids call their kids. One of my kids is a tubie.
So first, a doctor named Oliver Di Pietro, who frankly sounds like a bit of a schmuck, has come up with a way to make money off people desperate to lose weight. He inserts a nasogastric tube (NG tube) in their nose (a tube that threads through the nose into the stomach) and gives them an 800 calorie ketogenic diet for 20 days. Some tubie parents are outraged by this, and call it unethical. They claim it is unethical because it is using a medical device for non-medically necessary purposes. Here’s a petition. (For the record, my kid had an NG tube at birth, and now has a G tube, which is surgically inserted and just goes straight into his stomach.)
Of course I think this is really ridiculous. Can’t they just go on a liquid diet or something? If they have to do anything so drastic at all. Why take the risks and stigma that come with an NG tube? But I’m not entirely sure it’s clearly unethical. Plastic surgery uses medical devices for cosmetic purposes. You use a scalpel, etc. for plastic surgery. And I don’t see plastic surgery as necessarily unethical. It may be unethical because it’s an 800 calorie a day diet, but not necessarily because it’s using a medical device for cosmetic device. If anything is unethical about it, it’s that he’s using his position as doctor (perhaps) to put an imprimatur of medicine on it, to make a riskier version of the Slim-fast diet appear legit.
And then, on the other front, we have Kathie Lee and Hoda (this is a show I’ve never watched) basically going “ewwwwww” for two minutes at the idea of an NG tube (5:15-7:15 here). I’m guessing they’d be even more grossed out when I change my kids G tube. I’m full-throatedly with the other tubie parents here. Come on, really? Are they not aware this is a medical device used for other purposes? That other people really do have to carry a bag around and worry about it falling out? It’s like Mean Girl TV. Even if it was done in ignorance, they ought to apologize.