Many would argue that Dr. Nowzaradan is probably the reason they watch My 600-lb Life in the first place. So it is only natural to want to find out more about the person behind the lab coat. In addition to his appeal on the small screen, there are also plenty of things we were surprised to find out about him. These are some of the more controversial things you probably never knew about Dr. Now.
Dr. Younan Nowzaradan
Younan Nowzaradan has been a staple on the TLC series My 600-lb Life since it first aired in 2012, and is one of the reasons many people tune into the show.
Nicknamed Dr. Now, this Iranian doctor is famed for his ability to work with many overweight patients and turn their lives around. While he has had plenty of ups in his career, Dr. Now has also had plenty of downs. However, what are the biggest controversies surrounding the doctor from My 600-lb Life?
His son did a lot for his career
We have heard of father and son teams working in tandem, or teaming up for projects. And most often this sees the father helping out his son with career progression.
In the case of Younan Nowzaradan, his son was instrumental in helping his career move forward. Dr. Now’s son Jonathan runs a production company called Megalomania, and they produced a show called World’s Heaviest Woman. This was where Dr. Now got his break, and they developed a show Last Chance to Live, which would evolve to become My 600-lb Life.
His first show ended in tragedy
World’s Heaviest Woman chronicled the journey of Renee Williams, an 841-pound woman who sought the help of Dr. Now after no less than 14 other doctors turned her away.
He agreed to operate on her, and she underwent successful gastric bypass surgery. Sadly, the good news was only short-lived, and just 12 days after the surgery Renee tragically lost her life as a result of a heart attack. Jonathan documented her struggle in a documentary released in the UK titled Half Ton Mum.
He was the subject of a lawsuit
Doctors and surgeons have such high-intensity jobs, and they often have problems with malpractice lawsuits. Dr. Nowzaradan is no different, and he and his anesthesiologist were the subjects of a lawsuit back in 2012.
They were sued by one of their patients, Michelle Park, who alleged that she had a close to 7-inch piece of tubing left inside her body after her gastric band procedure. She claimed it hadn’t been found until 2 years later, but she dropped the lawsuit for unknown reasons.
It got more serious as well
It wasn’t just medical malpractice that Dr. Now was accused of; a family actually tried to sue him for allegedly causing loved ones to lose their lives!
Colleen Shepherd, in 2007, tried to sue Nowzaradan over the passing of her daughter, Tina, following a gastric bypass procedure. And five years later another patient’s wife tried to bring a similar suit against the TV doctor. Naturally, he denied both claims, and it seems as though they were both eventually dropped as well.
Marriage on the rocks
Like a lot of brilliant people, it seems as though Dr. Nowzaradan was married to his work, which understandably caused problems in his actual marriage.
Back in 2002, Younan’s wife of 27 years filed for divorce. She cited cruel treatment and insupportability in her claim, while Dr. Now counterclaimed insupportability as well. This led to a two-year battle of divorce proceedings in which Nowzaradan did not come across well through accusations. Eventually, wife Delores was awarded 70% of the couple’s joint assets.
He’s not as hands-on as you might think
It’s important to remember that, with reality television, you aren’t always seeing what you think you’re seeing. Much of the show and storyline is doctored behind the cameras, and things aren’t always what they appear.
My 600-lbs Life is no exception, and one guest on the show has spoken out about the way they do things. Cynthia Wells claimed to only have seen Dr. Now during filming, and the surgery, and that the rest of her experience behinds the scenes on the show was allegedly handled by a different doctor.
His long-term success rates aren’t the best
You would expect a doctor as talented and high-profile as Dr. Now to have some pretty amazing success rates. And he does, sort of.
However, many are only in the short-term. In fact, Nowzaradan has even explained that the sort of surgery he does helps manipulate the metabolism of patients, but after around 5 years, this corrects itself. It’s the reason why patients who are genetically disposed to be obese often struggle. It is also the reason why Dr. Now says it is vital for patients to address their eating habits.
He’s pretty hard on his patients
Some doctors have a friendly disposition, while others are more concerned with the job, and less with heir bedside manner. It’s fair to suggest that Dr. Now falls into the second category, and he proves it by sometimes being hard on his patients.
Recognizing that losing weight is the responsibility of the patient as well as the doctor, Nowzaradan has been known to chastise patients, even allegedly telling one “No, you don’t need to eat anything. You already have 800lb of food inside you!”
There’s only so much he can do
Dr. Nowzaradan is well-known for never turning away any patient who comes to him, but sometimes there is simply nothing he can do. An example of this was Pauline Potter, who appeared on the show and refused to diet or take aftercare, and wound up losing hardly anything.
On her return, Dr. Now said there was nothing he could do after discovering she had lied. This might have seemed immoral, but it clearly had the desired effect, as it seems as though Pauline has since lost weight by herself.
How many doctors can say they’ve treated a suspected criminal? Well, Younan Nowzaradan can, as he helped to treat Mayra Rosales, officially the heaviest living woman at the time.
Rosales rose to media attention when she confessed to taking the life of her 2-year-old nephew back in 2008 by crushing him. However, it turned out to be a false confession, and she was protecting sister Jamie who had actually taken her own child’s life. After Jamie’s arrest, Mayra sought out Dr. Now to lose weight and get her life back.
Some patients just won’t listen to him
Medical experts have an air of authority about them and are respected by patients. You would imagine a doctor like Dr. Now would be someone patients would always listen to, but this isn’t always the case.
One of the most infamous patients to appear on My 600-lb Life was Penny Saeger, who was stubborn and allegedly manipulative. She clashed with Dr. Now, refusing his help after he accused her of delusion when she claimed that weight “doesn’t matter.” We’re not sure how Penny is doing now, but we wonder if she took his tips on board.
He’s not in it for the money
It might be easy to think that Dr. Nowzaradan is simply in this for the money and TV fame, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, he often doesn’t earn a profit over the course of treating a patient.
He has even claimed that he doesn’t need to make a living from every patient, and is known to work incredibly long hours. In an interview with Houstonia, Younan revealed that he works 12-14 hour day, seven days a week. It’s fair to say, this guy isn’t work shy!
He’s older than you might think
It’s easy to look at people on TV and assume they are much younger. This is a lot to do with makeup, lighting, and the fact they are preserved on our screens.
Dr. Nowzaradan probably seems younger than he actually is; many thought he was in his early 60s. Well, it turns out that the guy is actually in his mid-70s! In fact, he graduated university as far back as 1970 – this shows you how long he’s been around for, and how skilled he must be at his profession.
He has a high-pressure job
Just because Dr. Now appears on television, don’t make the mistake of thinking he has an easy job. In fact, every time he operates he has a person’s life in his hands, and this is pretty intense when you think about it.
There are so many different people who come through his door, and each of them has to be treated differently. However, the fact remains that all have a common goal – losing weight. Gastric bypass surgery can be very high-risk, and Dr. Now must deal with this every day.
He’s got a pretty intensive diet plan
A big part of the way Dr. Now performs his role is that he makes it clear that he can only do so much – after that it is down to the patient.
This is why he’s devised a pretty intensive, but highly effective, diet plan. It involves daily servings and suggestions for helping patients lose weight. There is a focus on grains, greens, and protein, and cabbage soup is one of the major meals on the plan. It doesn’t sound glamorous, but it’s important for losing weight.
He’s written a book
Like a lot of experts, Dr. Now has also tried his hand at being an author. We imagine he has probably penned medical papers in the past, but he’s also written a book too.
The publication, titled Last Chance to Live, explores the realities of obesity, and the negative impacts it can have on a person’s life. The book was published in 2015 and is available from Amazon. This is a fascinating look into Nowzaradan’s career dealing with obesity and is surely a must for all potential patients.
He has an impressive net worth
As a successful surgeon, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Nowzaradan boasts an impressive net worth. He has been in his field for more than four decades, so we imagine he has amassed a good amount of wealth.
However, his TV appearances have also brought him a huge amount of money, and he has an estimated net worth of around $4 million. We’re sure if he carries on the way he is, he will have plenty more money to add to that figure as well.
He’s not American by birth
Before he established a successful medical career in the United States, Dr. Nowzaradan was actually born and raised in Iran, in the city of Tehran.
It was here that the doctor developed an interest in the field of medicine, and actually received his degree from the University of Tehran in 1970. Following his graduation, Younan moved to the US and settled in Tennessee, where he developed his own practice. After this he then moved to Texas where he continues to run a surgery.
It was rumored he’d been fired
My 600-lb Life is certainly a show that has courted a great deal of controversy since it first hit screens.
There have been debatable reports about the way in which the show deals with the patients who appear on it, not to mention the controversial approach that Dr. Nowzaradan takes to his treatment. This led to rumblings in the press that he had been fired from the show, but this turned out to be a false claim.
He’s been on Oprah
Don’t think that Dr. Now exclusively devotes his TV time to My 600-lb Life. In addition to other TV series’ he has been on, he also appeared on successful, flagship daytime chat show Oprah.
His appearance on the show came back in 2009, and he spoke at length about the way he has treated obese patients over the years. He actually spent a lot of time discussing his work with teen Billy Robbins on the show Half Ton Teen.
He’s not just about weight-loss
Yes, there is no denying that Dr. Nowzaradan is skilled in the world of weight-loss treatments and that he performs plenty of bariatric procedures each week.
However, he is not exclusively a weight-loss expert. In fact, he has spent the majority of his career as a general surgeon and makes a habit of routinely performing laparoscopic appendectomies, along with gallbladder removals. He is clearly a surgeon skilled in many different aspects of the medical world.
He doesn’t perform surgery on everyone
Dr. Now is well-known for taking patients that other doctors might turn away or refuse to treat. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he will always operate on the patients he sees.
One of the deciding factors is whether or not their weight problems are genetic. He does seem to believe that the majority of patients he sees have genetic weight problems, while the others are people with eating disorders. These are the ones he doesn’t perform surgery on but instead tries to help them enter a self-correcting weight-loss program.
He thinks psychological help is imperative
Nowzaradan is a doctor who is focused on treating the cause as well as the symptoms. He is sympathetic toward some of his patients but understands the need to look at the psychological aspects as well.
He has talked about food being like a security blanket for some people, and states that when people get into stressful scenarios they often “go back to food.” Depression and food dependence are cyclical, and Dr. Now believes that it is as important to treat these as it is to operate.
He’s pretty humble
Now, you might expect TV stardom to have gone to the doctor’s head, but he actually seems to be pretty grounded about things. In fact, if anything it seems as though the experience has humbled him.
Having already filmed six seasons of the show, Dr. Now is showing little sign of slowing down. He is also quoted as having said, “My job is to take care of people. I’ve never worked a day in my life.” What an attitude to have; perhaps Dr. Now should be renamed Dr. Wow!
He fired a patient
It turns out things were a bit more intense with Pauline than first thought. Not only did Dr. Now call her the worst patient he’s ever had under his care, he fired her as his patient.
She made excuses; she would miss appointments; and she refused to make a change. Pauline also put her problems on her son, Dillon, saying, “I’m ruining my life and could be ruining my son’s life. I’ve got to get this under control.” At least it seems she got things back on track eventually.