Baptist Health patient says bariatric program saved his life

December 07, 2017

If you've ever struggled with your weight, David Tucker's story sounds very familiar. Until now.

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, David Tucker’s story sounds very familiar. Until now.

Overweight all his life, he’d try a new diet and lose 10 to 15 pounds. “And I’d put 20 back on,” said the 41-year-old from Nebo in Hopkins County.

He weighed 400 at his high school graduation. He was turned down for jobs because of his size. He was on medical treatment for sleep apnea, depression and high blood pressure. By 40, his knees and back were worn out. “It was hard just to get dressed. I was always run down and worn out,” he said.

Then, the epiphany struck.

“I stepped on the scales one day,” he said, with a pause to control the break in his voice, “and I saw 468. I just stood there and cried.”

A jolt of determination struck him like a lightning bolt. “My mind was made up,” he said matter-of-factly.

He began seriously cutting back on portion size and calories. He lost 23 pounds and decided then to seek medically-supervised help at Baptist Health Paducah for long-term success.

Tucker made the drive to Paducah for his first visit with the weight loss team. That was in August 2016. With their help, he was down to 368 in seven months before having gastric bypass surgery in March 2017. After surgery, he followed the rules meticulously and experienced no complications. 

Now he eats three meals a day, each just a half-cup in volume, and half of that is protein. He also drinks at least a gallon of water a day. “I had to learn to sip and not gulp,” he said.

He works out almost every day, including strength training and swimming at nearby Baptist Health Madisonville.

When he’s tempted to eat too much, he simply goes to his closet. “I pull out that outfit I first wore to Baptist Health Weight Loss,” he said. It was a size 60 pant; now he’s down to a 38. “I can stand in one leg of those pants,” he said.

And, most importantly, he feels good – about himself and about life. “I had gotten to where I was afraid to go to bed at night, afraid I wouldn’t wake up. Now when I wake up, I hop out of bed and fix coffee to take to my wife.”

Eight months after his surgery, David Tucker weighs 246 – that’s 222 pounds less than the day he made up his mind to change his life.

He thanks the team at Baptist Health. “I owe them my life. They took a big ball of play-dough and remade me.”

For more information about the Baptist Health Paducah bariatric program, phone 270.443.4519 or visit


Anthony Davis, MD, bariatric surgeon

Melissa Gott, APRN, nurse practitioner

Beth Mueth, RDLD, registered dietitian