Autopsy of a person with a lot of excess fat

On iPlayer at the moment is Obesity: The Post Mortem. When I saw it, I was instantly intrigued.

As I lay in bed watching it, I couldn’t quite remember if I watched an autopsy years ago on Channel 4. I think I may have. Either way, watching this didn’t shock me – perhaps though because it is similar to the numerous operations I have watched on telly. Maybe the deceased element may put some people off. Last year I went to Amsterdam and was tempted to go into see Body Worlds; an exhibit of 200 anatomic specimens. The only reason I did not enter was because of the entry fee.

I could instantly see the criticisms that would be bestowed to the programme due to its “fat-shaming”. The commentators repeatedly criticise the size of this person and inadvertently suggest that she shouldn’t have carried as much fat as she did. Through a series of interviews with some “fat” volunteers it is made clear that the reasons for obesity are complex and complicated. For me, this wasn’t fat-shaming. It was fat-understanding.

For me, this programme illustrated the problems of excess fat on the inside. All too often there is a visual judgement of the outside and therefore on the physical size and from this stereotypes are often banded about. But here the dangers of having excess fat on the inside of the body were explained. The programme was interspersed with an explanation about the procedure of conducting an autopsy as well as explaining the complications of this excess fat. The strain and pressure placed on vital organs was incredibly. It again was made clear that obesity itself did not cause her death but having this much excess fat could have contributed to an increased risk of heart disease.

It was made very clear that all people have a certain amount of fat. Even the fittest and leanest athlete would have some fat levels as these are vital and necessarily to live as building blocks and as protection for our organs.

Yesterday I happened to stumble on this.

Ouch. How her organs must be under stain.

This person donated their body to science. It isn’t something I have ever considered. I am on the organ register. If I were dead, and straight away one of my organs could save a life, then it makes sense to give it. Why let my organ rot in the ground? Perhaps though, donating my body, specifically my head to science may be a good idea. With my medical background, perhaps having the opportunity to explore inside my help.

Samuel

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