Overweight Patients Cost Coney Island Hospital – And Taxpayers – More Money

Source: randomplaces/Flickr

Rampant obesity has forced hospitals – and taxpayers – to pay.

Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) purchased a specially-sized radiographic flouroscopy unit, a type of X-ray machine that provides moving images, for more than double the price of the regular sized unit, to accommodate and securely hold overweight patients.

The regular sized x-ray machines costs $301,000, while the super-sized was purchased for $650,000. It seems as though weight loss not only comes along with health benefits, but economic benefits as well.

According to the New York Post, other hospitals in New York are also spending more on various facilities and machines to provide for the needs of overweight patients. For instance, Jacobi Medical Center of The Bronx installed 40 new toilets specially crafted for individuals weighing up to 500 pounds.

Antonio Martin, chief operating officer for the Health and Hospitals Corporation, told the Post that hospitals the amount of overweight patients in hospitals has increased and therefore, they were forced to make these new arrangements. Martin said that he has seen patients weighing 600 and 700 pounds.

“The cost of a hospital bed that is specifically designed for an obese patient is about three times the cost of a standard hospital bed,” said Martin. “And the price of an extra wide wheelchair is easily double the amount of a regular one.”

For years, obesity has been a public health disaster in America, and it is constantly getting worse. The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation stated that almost 60 percent of New York City inhabitants are overweight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical costs associated with obesity have climbed to the alarming cost of $147 billion a year in America.

These statistics and costs have been released at a convenient time for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration, who have rushed to point to the additional costs as an example of need to pass his proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City.

“This is going to be worse than smoking ever was,” Bloomberg said, according to Capital New York. “Smoking deaths in New York City are now down to 7,000 a year. Obesity-related diseases are 6,000 and skyrocketing, while the smoking ones are coming down.”

“We just have to do something about it,” he said.