Dr. Manny: Does America need a health nanny?

Last week, I wrote a article stating why I support Mayor Bloomberg’s recommended ban on super-sized sodas and other sugary drinks served in cups over 16 ounces in food establishments throughout New York City, and boy, did I catch some heat for it. Here are some of my favorites:

“Manny, You support government controlling our lives, you're part of the problem then. Keep your Nanny state of mind out of my life, I can think for myself.”

“Dr. Manny, perhaps before you endorse the government dictating what the ignorant fat masses may ingest, you should lose a little weight yourself, you jowelly [SIC], overweight, Big-Government hypocrite?”

“In your hat, Dr. Manny. If people want to eat and drink themselves to death, it's none of the government's business. Education, not legislation.”

“Hey Dr. Manny moron....I can go purchase TWO 16 ounce drinks and drink them back to back but I'm not allowed by law to purchase a 32 ounce drink? PLEASE don't tell me that a supposedly educated DOCTOR is this STUPID.....”

But you know what, I like a good fight. So let me throw a provocative idea out there…

Next week, my dear mother-in-law who lives in Sweden is getting hip replacement surgery. She is a 75-year-old, law-abiding, hardworking taxpayer and retired teacher. Talking to her recently, she was very excited about her upcoming operation. I asked her to give me some details about her surgical plan, and to my surprise, the clinical protocol was very similar those here in the United States – with one small caveat: There is a total ban on smoking for all elective surgeries. Basically, this means that any individual must completely stop smoking two months before and two months after surgery, or you can say ‘bye bye’ to your new hip. This ban, of course, does not apply to emergencies.

The argument is that smoking increases the risk for complications both during and after surgery and therefore defeats the purpose of getting an elective procedure since your lifestyle is not going to contribute to your overall recovery. I can only imagine what everyone would say if we proposed a concept like that here.

If you go into any major hospital in any major American city, you will frequently find patients in their hospital gowns, dragging along their IV poles to go have a cigarette outside the medical center. So my question is: Should we allow this, or do you think that Mayor Bloomberg should look into it?