One of the biggest dangers of the pandemic is hospitals being overwhelmed with cases and not having the necessary beds and equipment to handle patients.
This can lead to the nightmare scenario of a doctor having to decide who does and does not have access to lifesaving equipment and treatments.
It’s life or death.
This is what happened in Italy.
And if you are a fat person, you should be scared AF about it.
Some states are trying to put together triage guidelines/protocols for this scenario and often fat people are considered expendable.
This is because when faced with this kind of decision, healthcare professionals are looking for comorbidities – and, sadly, the healthcare profession, as a whole, considers just being fat as a comorbidity.
It is another example of fat discrimination at work – and this time it can be deadly.
What can you do?
Your best bet, of course, is to stay healthy and out of hospitals.
But this is not always up to you.
Usually, I would say be prepared to be your own advocate or to have someone who is willing and able to advocate for you – but if you are in the hospital, you may not be able to advocate for yourself and with the restrictions on outside visitors, you may not be able to have someone advocate for you.
We need to advocate for ourselves before we end up in the hospital.
You should try to find out if your State has this kind of guideline/protocol in place – and exactly what it says. If it is discriminatory, you need to contact your governor, the public health officials, your representative and make as big of a stink about it as you can. Get the word out to the fat community and ask for their support.
Don’t be surprised if you find that the guidelines are discriminatory against other groups – disabled, elderly, HIV+, etc., and don’t be shy about reaching out to those communities as well.
It is not your fault that lifesaving equipment and treatment are not available in sufficient supply.
It could be your problem, though.
In California #NoBodyIsDisposable Coalition
FLARE (Fat Legal Advocacy, Rights & Education and Fat Rose are all working against these discriminatory protocols.
Perhaps your State has its own coalition. Perhaps you could start one, or you know someone or a group who could start this kind of group. I am sure a group like #NoBodyIsDisposable would be happy to help with advice.