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Old 01-18-2012, 08:48 PM   #1
NewfieGal
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Default Anyone else have a problem with size limits on hospital equipment

Hi was just wondering if anyone has had trouble get diagnostic imaging done due to a weight limit size on the machinery... I live in a country where growing obesity is prevalent yet the equipment hospitals purchase are not up to par at least not here where I live... I was supposed to get a Bone scan, had to drive 2 and a half hours to nearest regional hospital that does them, the weather was the pits and my brother had to take me as I don't drive in the snow(yes I am too chicken)... when I got in for my appointment the lady asked my weight and height which I gave her, she left and then came back to tell me sorry the limit for the machine was 300 lbs and she couldn't do the test... so I had to take a day off work, drag my brother through crappy weather, gas here isn't cheap and then they couldn't help me, does this make any sense? I think every diagnostic machine should have a limit of at least a 1000 lbs, i mean I know 300 might seem like a high limit but it really isn't' realistically... guess bigger folks like me don't need those kinda tests... anyone else face this problem?

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Old 01-18-2012, 08:58 PM   #2
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A lot of us call ahead to ask if there is a weight restriction on whatever equipment is being used. Usually we figure this out after we have a situation like yours and someone here mentions it. I've also asked my GM outright if he knows the diagnostic center or lab and if his staff can call ahead and they have.

I know that there are many diagnostic centers now that have higher weight limits which makes sense because a lot of professional football players are over 350 lbs. and many are very big around and have to be able to fit in the machines when injured--big big money at their zillion dollar pro-sports medical facilities, so it trickles down to the little guy here eventually at our centers.

I had a problem once when I was in the ER and they wanted to do a sonogram of my thigh (to check for blood clots) and they couldn't get a good reading but it had more to do with soundwaves traveling through fat than my actual weight. A lot of people here on Dimensions have had issues much like yours.

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Old 01-18-2012, 09:06 PM   #3
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Yea, I think 300 is just way too light duty for any equipment.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:45 AM   #4
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I work in a hospital as well, it is a much smaller hospital then the large regional one, I have never had trouble getting things done here, and we have weight scales that go to 400lbs and our lift equipment for non weight bearing people goes from 450 to 1000 lbs... it didn't occur to me to call ahead I mean the general population is larger now then it used to be, you would think they would be sat up better then that, but oh well guess its either get a different kinda test or get down to 300lbs lol
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Old 01-20-2012, 03:04 AM   #5
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I had to have an MRI right after Christmas and it turned out to be such a horrible experience because of my size. The nurse first made comments about the hospital gowns not being able to fit me and that I'd have to wear 2 gowns instead, and then she said we had to do a test run in the MRI machine to make sure i'd "actually fit". For someone still struggling with size/weight acceptance, that was not the right way to say it. There were more people in the room than necessary -just to watch me get in this machine and make sure nothing breaks. It was a tight fit...I weight 295lbs, of course it's going to be a tight fit...but the pressure I was feeling from the nurse's comments and the feeling of the machine walls rubbing against me made me have a full blown anxiety attack. It was awful.
I think all medical machines should have a higher weight/size limit, and I think people working in the hospitals should be more aware of what the say to certain patients in situations like mine.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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I too needed an MRI of my knee and as soon as the tech saw me he said "you won't fit in the machine" and handed me my paperwork back. I had so many mixed emotions! I wanted to cry I wanted to slap him and I just stood there not knowing what to do.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:34 AM   #7
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in 2001 when I was at my largest I was forcefully squeezed into an MRI machine it felt like being a human sausage breadroll not nice
(luckily now that I have a pacemaker I am not allowed into or near an MRI)
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:02 AM   #8
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NewfieGal,
I totally agree with CastingPearls on this one - call ahead, in fact make a pest out of yourself doing it if necessary. I have been in the same situation as you with hospital test equipment and have learned a few things that help.

One is to get a list going of the equipment that will take fat bodies. This is a sliding scale too. Some devices have a limit of 500 lbs. Some devices have a limit of 750 lbs, etc. Your best bet is to find a hospital that does WLS (weight loss surgery) 'cause they often have machines that can handle larger bodies. I usually call the hospital's imaging office directly myself and verify the info with the supervisor of the dept that runs the test I am to have. The only draw back is some of the more open machines do not get as good of resolution (picture quality) as the smaller machines. However, the newer MRIs have overcome most of these issues.

Second, if you're getting a MRI, ask for an OPEN MRI machine. It is like a table instead of being like a tunnel. You can also ask for a sedative before you go inside, but your GP or doc that orders the test should give you this before you go. This makes the test a little more fun - more like a ride at Disneyland than being buried alive. You just have to bring a ride home. Most of the MRI folks will let you bring a recorded CD or two of music and play it for you, to help you stay calm too. Don't drink too much before you go inside the machine tho, you may have to be in there for an hour or two before you can pee.

Third, keep a cool head about you if things go south. I have a brain disease that requires MRIs every couple of years. So, I have had the distinct pleasure of having at least a half dozen or more MRIs. I have also had three major surgeries and a couple of accidents that required other scanning equipment. If the machine doesn't look right (too small, too high, the technician or attendant has a crappy attitude) I will and have turned and walked out. I am not getting my fat ass in something that looks like I will need the fire dept to pull me out of. I try and be courteous to the staff, and treat them with respect. However, I am likely to morph into Hogzilla if I get pushed too far - something that happens if my temper gets rilled up.

Don't forget you are the customer in this deal and you deserve a high quality of customer care. One MRI test may cost thousands of dollars or more depending on the fancy frills. Sometimes they shot dyes inside of you to watch how things move. Your insurance or your health care agent is paying for these tests - so you need to get your money's worth and value from the information that the scans are supposed to give. You also deserve and should demand a high quality of care and service from the hospital staff.

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