CATHEDRAL CITY — Mayor Gregory S. Pettis fell ill late Wednesday, Jan. 9 after the City Council had officially adjourned its regular meeting and was transported to a local hospital.
Pettis, was who sworn in as mayor in December, “appeared fatigued,” Councilmember John Aguilar told Uken Report. “Out of an abundance of caution, paramedics were called.”
The mayor was transported to Eisenhower Health where he remained Thursday morning. Mayor Pettis was scheduled to leave Thursday morning as part of a small contingent of people for a long-planned sister city exchange travel to Tequila, Jalisco.
Mayor Pettis, 63, has never shied away from talking about his desire to lose weight or his weight-loss surgery at Riverside Community Hospital in late 2018.
The mayor was cleared for gastric bypass surgery on the advice of his general practitioner, internal medicine physician, cardiologist and endocrinologist, he told Uken Report at the time.
Aguilar said Pettis’ fatigue and hospital stay are due to complications from the surgery.
“He is in the care of doctors who are familiar with this type of surgery,” Aguilar said. “He’s in great, great hands.”
At 5-feet, 10 inches tall and 282 pounds, Mayor Pettis said he was “medically diagnosed as obese.” He wants to lose 100 pounds and “get healthier.” He has been losing weight steadily since the surgery.
In 2015–2016, the most recent data available, the prevalence of obesity was 39.8 percent in adults and 18.5 percent in youth, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Mayor Pettis said he pondered having the surgery for several years but never made the leap. Everything came to a head in January 2018 when he became ill, Pettis said. He was bleeding internally and needed two, two-liter blood transfusions. He was anemic, leaving him tired and short on energy. He suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He was also diagnosed with three ulcers.
Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries make changes to the digestive system to help people lose weight by limiting how much they can eat or by reducing the absorption of nutrients, or both, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are done when diet and exercise haven’t worked or when people have serious health problems because of their weight.
Gastric bypass is one of the most common types of bariatric surgery in the United States. Many surgeons prefer gastric bypass surgery because it generally has fewer complications than do other weight-loss surgeries. Last year alone, there were 228,000 bariatric surgeries, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Though popular, it is, without question, major surgery, which made him nervous, Mayor Pettis said. As with any significant surgery, there are potential risks and side effects.