Laredo, TX— Earlier this month, at the annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association in El Paso, Texas, a group of doctors proposed building a controversial border wall along all gastroesophageal junctions to prevent stomach contents from crossing the border into the esophagus.
The group, which goes by the name Doctors With Borders, noted that stomach contents are largely unwanted in the esophagus. “They’re acidic, they’re bilious, they’re sour, and they’re very inflammatory,” said Dr. Jeffrey Malone, a founding member of the group. “They come in and they wreak havoc in the esophagus. Sure, there may be a few good things in the stomach when you eat, say, Mexican food, but most are bad habaneros.”
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, as this reflux condition is often called, affects many millions of Americans. As Dr. Malone indicated, the refluxed invaders of the esophagus tend not to play nice. They attack and weaken the esophagus causing all sorts of nasty conditions such as ulcers, webs, rings and strictures, which negatively affect the lives of Americans and cause many missed days at work. Supporters of the gastroesophageal walls believe that strengthening the border will bring Americans back to work.
Opponents of the wall project cite the astronomical cost of building 20 million—the approximate number of GERD sufferers—of these walls. “It’s not that we prefer open GE borders,” said Dr. Susan Lipton, “we just think that walls are not cost-effective and that there are better ways to combat reflux.”
But Dr. Malone was quick to downplay the concerns about cost. “It will be so easy to pay for the wall construction. It will be paid for entirely by the stomach. So we will build the beautiful walls and then the esophagi of America will be safer and the stomach will pay for it!” The majority of the conference attendees simply accepted this plan and no one challenged him about the absurdity and improbability of a stomach paying for a wall.
Attendees did have other relevant questions, though. When a skeptical member of the audience asked how food would penetrate the wall going from the esophagus into the stomach, a wall proponent suggested a one-way door within the wall that would only permit crossings from the feeding tube into the stomach. Everyone seemed to agree that that was a smart plan, especially Dr. Mihir Gupta from Arizona, who excitedly said, “Oh, you mean, like a valve?”