The gastric band — which can be implanted outside of a hospital in as little as 20 minutes and later removed if necessary — appeals to those whose weight problem is not severe enough to qualify them for publicly funded treatments, or who would rather not wait in line for one. Many Slimband patients obtain financing through Mr. Scot-Smith’s Credit Medical, adding as much as $7,000 in financing costs to the procedure’s price.
Dr. Patrick Yau, Slimband’s chief surgeon, said he was the first in Canada to perform the operation and stressed that his 6,000 patients have had generally “excellent results.”
But some former employees of Slimband, some of whom have since moved to competing clinics, describe their former workplace as a high-pressure, boiler-room-style marketing environment. Call-centre representatives had to meet aggressive sales targets for signing up patients, they allege. Those who didn’t were relegated to the company’s “minor leagues” and given only “cold leads.”
Practice guidelines from the Canadian Obesity Network, an association of researchers and physicians, recommend weight-loss surgery only for clinically obese patients with a body-mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher (say, someone 5-foot-6 who’s at least 247 pounds), or a BMI of 35 (216 pounds for that same person) with at least two weight-related medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes. The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons and some others recommend that stand-alone clinics doing gastric banding cut off patients with a BMI below 35, or 30 if there are other health conditions.
Three former employees, two of whom now work for Slimband’s competition, claimed that Slimband accepted clients, including actresses and body-builders, who were not obese, though they cited no such patients who suffered medical problems or were left unhappy.
“If they were under the [recommended] weight percentile, they’d have to speak to the doctor, who would say yea or nay, and all the time he’d say ‘yes,’ ” said one former sales worker, who isn’t currently working for a rival firm. “It would freak me out.”Viac článkov tohto autora. >