By Deanne Lane
(KSDK) - Some startling news from Barnes Jewish Hospital: on any given day, one-third to one-half of its patients weigh more than 300 pounds. It's forcing more and more hospitals and their patients to make drastic changes in order to provide the necessary services. But once a severely obese patient is discharged, what are their options?
56-year-old Sharlinda Whitlock is back in the hospital due to complications from her obesity. She weighs 630 pounds. "I don't feel like a woman. I can't do things I used to. I can't go to church," said Whitlock.
She's been battling an infection and Lymphedema, which has engorged her ankles and feet. But now the hospital says it has done all it can for Sharlinda, and she has nowhere to go. Doctors say she can not return to her two bedroom apartment because of her size and safety. The nurses that have been caring for her are trying to find a first floor special needs building, with expanded doors and other necessities for Sharlinda.
The great-grandmother does not qualify for a nursing facility or habilitation center because most of them in Missouri will not take patients over 300 pounds.
In the meantime she waits for a miracle or an angel. Weight loss guru Richard Simmons has already called Sharlinda three times in the hospital to bolster her spirits. No word if he plans to visit.