It’s no secret that a large portion of the American population suffer from obesity, as the US has often been the butt of the joke globally, and some statistics even suggest that obesity affects nearly half of the adults in the country.
Clearly, the States are facing a health problem, and as such there are numerous doctors all across US searching for a solution. The US reality television series, “My 600 Lb Life”, hosted by doctor Younan Nowzaradan, became one of many such projects raising awareness on the obesity pandemic by attempting to treat some of the most extreme cases.
As viewers and fans of “My 600 Lb Life” would know, many patients have appeared in the series, and while Dr Nowzaradan tries to help all of them, the show often neglects to check in on the patients once the cameras stopped filming.
Penny Saeger was one of the many patients to appear on “My 600 Lb Life”, but since the documentation of her treatment ended, fans have heard very little about her and how she’s been doing since. With so many people curious about Penny’s current well-being, and with the show continuing its mission, we took it upon ourselves to check up on Penny, and see how she’s been progressing
What To Expect
As we dive into Saeger’s life and progress since “My 600 Lb Life”, we will be taking a look at the series, discussing the standard premise of the show, and maybe even diving into a few secrets the producers, and Dr Now wouldn’t want viewers to know. This will include mentioning the risks Dr Now, often undertakes, as well as a malpractice lawsuit he avoided.
We will also be taking a look at who Penny Saeger is, and will revisit her journey on “My 600 Lb Life” before finally discussing her life since becoming a star of the reality television series, entailing her progress of attempting to overcome her obesity, how she unfortunately caused a lot of upset among the show’s viewers, and will also be addressing the rumours surrounding her death.
What The Series Does Not Film
Originally intended as a four-part mini-documentary series, “My 600 Lb Life’ was met with such a popular reception among TLC’s audiences that it developed into a fully fledged series now going into its eleventh season. The show debuted in 2012, and since its quick rise in popularity, inspired the creation of two spin-off shows.
One spin-off series, “My 600 Lb Life: Where Are They Now?, simply follows up on patients who previously appeared in the original series, keeping viewers informed on how they are progressing. However, the series tends to be selective about who makes an reappearance, often neglecting the unsuccessful patients who fail to continue showing positive results.
The other series, “Skin Tight”, takes a look at the struggles following weight loss, as patients deal with the aftermath of excess skin. The show stars Dr. Now, along with a handful of other surgeons, as he treats patients for skin removal surgery.
Typically, the two-hour-long episodes of “My 600 Lb Life” documents the journey of morbidly obese patients taken into the care of Dr. Now, following their progress as they attempt to lose weight, and once they qualify, undergo a selection of bariatric surgery, which would normally assist in the patient’s continued weight loss, as well as improve their general health, and is usually performed by Dr. Now.
Since the beginning of the show, a long list of patients has appeared before the cameras, documenting their difficulties and victories. Some patients get to share their success stories in front of Dr. Now’s cameras, while others have not been quite as fortunate. Sadly, an estimated 13 patients, all of whom were formerly in Dr. Now’s care, have passed away due to health problems or emotional difficulties rising from their obesity. Two of these unfortunate cases have been published on the series, proving that “My 600 Lb Life” does not make light of the health implications associated with obesity.
While the show, and Dr. Now, do their best to aid patients, following a seemingly friendly premise, not everything about the show is quite as charitable as the cameras might make it out to be. Of course, tears have been shed on camera, and many of the patients’ stories are heart-breaking, but it’s when the cameras stop filming that things often take a turn into a darker corner.
One of the secrets that Dr. Now would surely not want his fans to know, is that he had previously faced a malpractice lawsuit, long before the filming of “My 600 Lb Life” was filmed. Unfortunately, the details of the case are somewhat vague, though it’s publicly known that the complaint was filed by a previous patient known as Michelle Clark. It should be noted that Clark didn’t appear on the show, and few details can be found about Michelle.
According to Clark, Dr. Now left a surgical tube inside her following a surgery that he performed on her, which remained inside her for 22 months before being discovered. Unfortunately, the tube caused damage to Ms. Clark’s colon, and during that whole time, she lived in great discomfort.
It was then later reported, in 2013, that Michelle dropped the case against Dr. Younan, who continued to proclaim his innocence throughout the whole ordeal. Speculation rose soon that suggested Dr. Now and Ms. Clark might have settled the dispute outside of court. However, no evidence exists to confirm the speculative reports published by gossip outlets. It might even be possible that Dr Now successfully defended himself, as he would go on to say during several interviews and being questioned about the lawsuit, that the removal of the tube was the responsibility of the anesthesiologist.
Whether at fault or not, a malpractice suit against any doctor would be enough to tarnish their reputation, but considering that Dr. Now often takes serious risks on “My 600 Lb Life”, claims against him might not be too far-fetched. Although argued that the surgical procedures Dr. Now performs are for the benefit of his patients, he often performs them at the risk of seriously harming his patients, although often as a last resort anyway.
This is what happened to Penny Saeger after her appearance on #TLC’s "My 600-lb Life."
In order to perform any kind of bariatric surgery, the patient in question is required to be below a certain weight, which ranges at an average of 450 Lbs. As part of the premise of the show, since most of the patients appearing on the series weigh 600 Lbs or more, they have to lose anything between 50 to 100lbs, ie10% of their initial weight. This is only to prove to Dr. Now that they are serious about their weight loss journey.
While it might only be a small difference from the required weight, performing bariatric surgery on a patient who does not qualify can hold serious implications. Some of the difficulties that can arise during surgery are the possibility of heart failure, but even if the surgery goes well, it can still result in potentially harmful after-effects.
In fact, one of Dr. Now’s patients, Lupe Samano, who appeared in the fourth season in 2016, suffered severe hip pain following her surgery and appearance on “My 600 Lb Life”. However, Lupe was not upset about it, as she was grateful for Dr. Now’s assistance. Unfortunately, due to her hip pain, Lupe is stillvirtually bedridden, and is unable to be as active as she wants to be, though continues her journey to a healthier and slimmer lifestyle.
What Happened To Penny?
Penny Saeger, who makes her residence in Elkton, Maryland, became a patient on “My 600 Lb Life” in 2014 during the filming of the second season, and at the time was a 45-year-old housewife in desperate need of Dr. Now’s assistance. As she appeared in the show, Penny shared her heart-breaking story in front of the cameras, recounting her journey through life and how she became morbidly obese.
Growing up, Penny had a difficult childhood, according to her, mostly credited to her abusive and drunk father, and as a result of the difficulties she faced, Penny turned to food as a coping method. Penny’s comfort eating habits would gradually see her pick up a lot of weight over the years, and by the time she married her husband, Edgar, and later gave birth to her only child, a son named Liam, she weighed 630lbs.
Due to her large stature, Penny became bedridden, and incapable of doing even the simplest tasks without the help of her caretaker, a role adopted by her husband. The house was left in Edgar’s care, as were the duties concerned with raising their child; whenever Penny needed to use the restroom, Edgar would be there to help.
— C H A M E L E O N S O U L 🌈 💀 (@Give_It_A_Whirl) April 3, 2023
Tired of how life was going, Penny reached out to Dr. Now and the producers of “My 600 Lb Life”, and in due time, she was invited to appear on the show. However, little would Dr. Now realise that he would yet again be coming face to face with a stubborn patient. Many might remember Henry Foot, one of the most difficult patients Dr Now had to deal with, but just like him, Penny was extremely reluctant to listen to Dr Now.
In fact, when Penny had to visit Dr Now for examinations, she refused to walk and had to be taken to his office by ambulance. Nonetheless, when she began her journey on “My 600 Lb Life”, Penny seemed eager to follow the doctor’s orders – sadly, it was because she had no other choice. Due to already existing health complications, Penny was placed under a strict diet, and received instructions to undertake a tough exercise schedule.
Unfortunately, Saeger didn’t quite follow Dr Now’s instructions, and throughout her initial course to lose weight, she only dropped 40 lbs. Penny didn’t stay on the strict diet, and neglected to do many of the exercises she was prescribed. Regardless, she requested that Dr Now perform bariatric surgery, hoping that it would progress her weight loss.
Initially, Dr Now was reluctant to go through with the procedure, but because Penny dropped at least 40 lbs, he agreed to her request. However, he remor ined sceptical and was adamant that she sneaked food into her room. The surgery went smoothly, and succeeded miraculously without any complications or difficulties.
Following her surgery, Penny remained stubborn, not exercising and did or following a strict diet, and when her evaluation came post surgery, it was revealed that she gained 5lbs, instead of continuing her weight loss journey. This prompted a serious discussion with Dr Now, outlining the numerous implications obesity can have on her health, all of which can be fatal.
Despite the seriousness of how Dr Now treated Penny, she continued to refuse his help, and eventually decided to leave the show. Following her episode on “My 600 Lb Life”, Penny temporarily disappeared from mainstream media, and seldom updated her social media presence. Because of this, rumours began swirling suggesting that the worst had happened to her, and many people believed that she’d passed away.
Fortunately, these rumours were quickly shut down by the TLC network, who stated that she was still very much alive, but sadly hasn’t made any improvement with her condition and weight loss. According to most sources concerning Penny’s whereabouts, most report that she is still living in Maryland with her husband Edgar and her son Liam, and the family seems to be content with life.
To further confirm that she’s still alive, Penny resurfaced on Facebook in 2019, posting a picture as she played with her cat. Unfortunately, as can be observed from Penny’s post, she was still bedridden, and didn’t show any further progress. Fans responded by sharing comments of hopeful messages, with some expressing their disappointment, stating how it saddened them to see her still stuck in bed.
No further reports have since surfaced on Penny’s whereabouts, but it is safe to assume that she’s still alive, though might not be as healthy as she hoped to become when she appeared on “My 600 Lb Life”. Liam has all grown up, and through the years, it seems that Penny’s husband, Edgar, had remained by her side, still professing his love and support for his wife.
Regardless, continuation of the series seems likely, at least for the positive reasons identified.