A heart-stopping backlash

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D.

April 2012

The seeming resentment at perceived "food police" has spawned some menu items that are truly hard to imagine: deep-fried Twinkies and Mars Bars or a double bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme donut. A restaurant in Texas offers a 64-ounce steak. It's free for anyone that can polish it off within one hour. Local legend has it that a college football player downed two servings in that time.

The winning entry is an offering at a restaurant named the Heart Attack Grill in (where else?) Las Vegas. The owner, Dr. Jon, is not a real physician but he visits with patrons while dressed in his white coat, carrying a stethoscope. He checks on the activity of his waitresses who wear white shorts complete with a red cross on each side of their posterior, barely-there blouses and nurse's caps. The company motto: taste worth dying for.

Menu items include a Quadruple Bypass Burger — four half-pound beef patties and 8 slices of cheese on a lard-encrusted bun. It does have two healthy ingredients: a whole tomato and half an onion. If you can handle the alleged 8,000 calories in the Quadruple Bypass Burger you may help yourself to some all-you-can-eat french fries.

Dr. Jon cheerfully admits that "it's bad for you and gonna kill you," thus laying claim that his is the only honest restaurant in America. His jovial comment might have come true. One of his spokespersons was a six-foot, eight-inch, 600-pound giant who died at the age of 29 from influenza-related pneumonia. He was an example of the high risk that obese individuals face when they encounter the influenza virus. Among ten patients with severe pneumonia in association with influenza reported by the University of Michigan in 2009, 9 were obese and 7 were morbidly obese. Three of these patients died.

Professional nursing associations are upset that the faux-nurses of the Heart Attack Grill portray a poor image of the true caregivers. Dr. Jon might consider having a real nurse on hand. Not long ago a patron required emergency medical assistance when he began to complain of chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath after downing a Triple Bypass Burger.

Morbid curiosity might draw some patrons to the Heart Attack Grill but some indulge in bizzareburgers as if to taunt fate. This backlash against nutritional common sense comes with a steep price.

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D. is the author of Health Secrets of the Stone Age, Better Life Publishers 2005. Contact him at drphil@stoneagedoc.com.