Better Lose Weight or the Doctor May Not Treat You!
It sounds a bit ironic, doesn’t it? Doctors are supposed to diagnose illnesses or problems and then help patients find medical treatment, not turn you away because of that medical condition. But for one woman in Massachusetts, trying to find a primary care doctor was more challenging than she bargained for as she was told she weighed too much to be seen by the doctor.
Ida Davidson went in for her second visit to Dr. Helen Carter’s office and was told that they did not want her as a patient because she weighs over 200 pounds. According to the doctor, some of her staff was injured by overweight patients and she is protecting them by creating this new guideline. She also says that obese people are better treated somewhere else so it is in their best interest to find another doctor. So, Dr. Carter has put a limit for a patient at 200 pounds. Anyone that weights more than that will just need to find another doctor.
The most stunning revelation in this situation is that this practice is actually allowed by the American Medical Association, which says that doctors can “exercise freedom in choosing with whom to enter into a patient physician relationship”. So turning away a patient because of their weight is not discrimination according to the AMA, but is it really ethical?
According to the Centers of Disease Control, one-third of all American adults are obese. What would happen if all doctors decide not to treat them? Doesn’t everyone deserve to have fair and thorough medical care no matter what size, shape, age, gender, etc? I understand if a doctor turns a patient away because he or she feels that the person would get better treatment elsewhere, but is that really the issue here or is it a matter of worrying about liability?
What do you think? Should doctors turn people away due to weight or should they be there to help patients improve their health?