What obesity does to the body: An exclusive post-mortem
Figure 1 joins forces with BBC and a top histopathologist for Grand Rounds
A baggy heart, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome — these are just a few of the stark findings uncovered in BBC’s Obesity: The Post Mortem. The documentary, originally aired on BBC Three, profiled the autopsy of an obese woman who opted to donate her body to science before dying from heart failure. Dr. Mike Osborn, a consultant histopathologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust London, performed the post mortem.
On March 23, 2017, BBC and Figure 1 partnered to bring the results of the post mortem exclusively to healthcare professionals on Figure 1. Dr. Osborn hosted Grand Rounds to walk through the post mortem step-by-step. He discussed the pathophysiology of obesity, its effects on the body, and answered questions about obesity and post mortems in general. The entire Grand Rounds can be viewed on Figure 1. Here are three of the top questions.
1. On organ donation in the obese
“Dr. Osborn, do you see any positives coming from an obese patient donating organs? I would imagine that skin grafts could be used from the excess tissue. Is the fatty tissue still viable?” — Nursing Student
“If an obese person’s organs are healthy, there’s no reason why they can’t be an organ donor just like anybody else. Any healthy organ in anybody who fulfils the criteria of an organ donor is very valuable. It’s only the organs with damage [such as] this lady’s liver and heart that would not be suitable for consideration of donation.” — Dr. Mike Osborn
2. Accusations of fat shaming
“I felt as though this woman was being ‘fat shamed’ after death. I don’t doubt the need for action on obesity but it just made me feel uncomfortable.” — Nursing student
“Our aim was not in any way to ‘fat shame’ the deceased. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity provided by her family for us to make this program. Our aim was to make an educational program highlighting the risks of obesity. As I said in one of the captions, this lady is in no way unusual and this is a very typical post mortem I would conduct. People are getting larger, and this carries health consequences on both a personal and national level. This is what we hoped to highlight in an educational, nonjudgmental way.” — Dr. Mike Osborn
3. How men and women’s bodies react differently to obesity
“Very interesting! Do you see any divides amongst men and women in regards to the morbidities associated with obesity?” — Advanced practice registered nurse
“Good question. Yes, but it only exacerbates the differences that already exist. If a disease is more common in a woman, it’s going to be more common in an obese woman than an obese man.” — Dr. Mike Osborn