Monday, May 21, 2007

Weight Wars on TLC’s New Big Medicine

It’s no secret that America has a serious problem with obesity. According to the American Bariatric Society, approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese and 9 million severely obese. In TLC’s new series BIG MEDICINE, a father and son physician team fight the obesity epidemic one bariatric surgery at a time.

BIG MEDICINE premieres Monday, May 28, at 9 PM (ET/PT) and follows the personal stories of severely obese patients who turn to Houston’s Methodist Weight Management Center as a life-changing last resort. One of the most innovative bariatric surgery practices, Methodist adheres to a long-term, multidisciplinary approach that includes a plan for lifelong follow-up. At the heart of the operation is passionate father and son surgeon team Robert and Garth Davis, a pair who have dedicated their professional lives to raising awareness about obesity.

BIG MEDICINE offers a behind-the-scenes look into the controversial world of bariatric surgery. The series chronicles the emotional journeys and transformation of obese people who have opted to undergo weight-loss surgery in an attempt to regain their lives. Patients are captured at various stages in the process – before and during the surgery, through recovery and post-op care and often through cosmetic procedures designed to remove sagging skin after dramatic weight loss.

The 13-part series introduces viewers to the Methodist team of experts dedicated to lifelong patient care, including a nurse coordinator, dietitian and counselor. This group works together to evaluate patients, prepare them for the physical and psychological impact of surgery and offer long-term support through post-op programs. To Robert and Garth Davis, obesity is a disease. And while weight-loss surgery is not a cure, it can be a lifesaving option for patients who are ready to commit to long-term lifestyle changes.

Some of the extraordinary stories featured in BIG MEDICINE include a 26-year-old morbidly obese man who is a prisoner in his own home and must rely on his mother for all of his daily needs; a mother and daughter duo who have huge amounts of excess skin removed after losing a combined 225 lbs; and a 32-year-old dad weighing in at almost 500 lbs who lost both his parents from the complications of obesity and is desperate not to follow in their footsteps.

Often as gripping as the patient stories is the colorful relationship between this father and son team where old school meets new school head on. Dr. Robert Davis, aka “big D,” is true to the old ways of medicine and sometimes finds new techniques too flashy or unnecessary, while Dr. Garth Davis, aka “little D,” is eager to modernize the business. Despite these differences, the pair unites in the operating room to fight a common enemy and change lives forever.

For more than 25 years, The Methodist Hospital in Houston has led the way in helping people achieve weight loss with safe, long-term solutions. The Methodist Weight Management Center is the only comprehensive program of its kind in Houston, offering numerous weight-loss options for patients.

BIG MEDICINE is produced by The Idea Factory. Alon Orstein is the executive producer for TLC. Stephen David and Darryl Silver are executive producers for The Idea Factory.

Dr. Robert Davis (seen in image right) attended the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and graduated in 1963. He pursued his post-graduate education in London & Edinburgh in Great Britain, New York, Galveston and Houston. He was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1973 and recertified in 1987 & 1997. He has written many scientific papers and made presentations at scientific meetings. He is a member of several medical and surgical societies and has been awarded certificates by the American Medical Association for continuing education.

Robert is an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and deputy chief of the department of surgery at the Methodist Hospital. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons and a member of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. He has given many presentations and published scientific papers. Dr. Davis was the chairman of the bariatric surgery committee at Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Garth Davis (seen in image left) graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas in Austin where he was the Student Government President. He was also awarded as the most outstanding student at UT. He went on to Medical School at Baylor College of Medicine and graduated in the top 10% of his class, and was inducted to Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. Garth completed his surgical residency at the prestigious University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he was elected as to the position of chief administrative resident. While in Michigan, he had extensive experience in general surgical disciplines. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. He has attended many post-graduate courses including laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. He has given several invited lectures on the subject of Bariatric Surgery.

Garth has had extensive training in laparoscopic surgery and has studied the creation of a full service
integrated weight loss center. He has specialized in bariatric surgery and is the Medical Director of the
Weight Loss Program at the Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Davis has been recently recognized again as a Texas Monthly Super Doc.