August 25, 2005

The truth hurts...

...Get over it!

A woman filed a complaint against Dr. Terry Bennett in New Hampshire because he diagnosed her as obese...

I told a fat woman she was obese, Bennett says. I tried to get her attention. I told her, 'You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.'"

Dr. Bennet's diagnosis apparently hurt this woman's feelings. Great. The worst part of this entire thing is the fact this complaint hasn't already been thrown out.

You go to a doctor for your health. You receive a diagnosis and then you choose to accept the diagnosis or get a second opinion. If the doctor does not have a good bedside manner or does not fit your personality, then go to another doctor; don't submit a complaint to the state saying that the doctor hurt your feelings!

Should doctor's now have to worry about giving good solid medical advice because they might hurt a patient's feelings?

Apparently so... I guess this lady should've seen if Richard Simmons was available to make her feel better about her rolls of fat instead of a real medical professional trying to help her to feel better.

Update: Jo from Jo's Cafe says that this woman needs to go eat a it!

Posted by Jody at August 25, 2005 04:43 PM | TrackBack

Fat and stupid, what a combination.

Posted by: BobG at August 25, 2005 10:08 PM

Duh! I just realized, it's Michael Moore in drag.

Posted by: BobG at August 25, 2005 10:11 PM

I think you need to reserve judgment until it's clear what, exactly, he said to this woman. Chances are, it was more than "you're fat." (I heard he told her: YOu'll outlive your husband and then no one will want you because you're fat." That's not health advice, folks.

The other thing you ought to become aware of is that the constant message you hear about "fat is bad; fat kills"...IS WITHOUT SCIENTIFIC MERIT. If you can't get your head around that, you might want to consider that you do not know WHAT this woman went to see the doctor for. If it wasn't about her weight, he had no business, period, bringing it up. It is not unreasonable for anyone to expect they will be treated for the condition they've come to see the doctor about, rather than for what he assumes to be the problem.

Additionally, it's been proven over and over and over that DIETS DON'T WORK. Period. So, as for saying she should "go eat a carrot," that's not going to work. Furthermore, you do not know that the woman DOESN'T eat carrots. Not everyone who is fat got that way by pigging out on "bad" food. And, not everyone who is thin is necessarily healthy. And, regardless, it's simply none of your business what anyone else eats.

What diets DO is screw up your metabolism so badly that even if you revert to eating "normally," you will gain weight.It is this "yo-yo" effect that weakens the heart, not the fat.

In the words of David Levitsky, obesity expert at Cornell: "Nobody ever dies of obesity."

Nor does obesity "kill 300,000 per year." That urban legend apparently comes from the distortion the JAMA's 1993 study received in the media and by the propaganda units funded by the diet and drug industry.

This is what that study said: "300,000 die each year from illness related to dietary factors and sedentary lifestyle." The word "obesity" was not used in that sentence. It meant, poor nutritional choices by people of any size, coupled with sitting around all day, leads to increased mortality.

Nor should you trust the CDC, which last year said more than 400,000 people die because they are obese. Why? The CDC admitted this year to using flawed data. The actual number is 25,000...and that figure does not take into account other factors that may have caused the person's death, so it's still problematic.

By the way, one of the factors that causes ill health among the fat is a fear of doctors--specifically, that the doctor will criticize the person because of his weight, rather than treating the complaint. As a consequence, many fat people forego the care that could save their lives.

And for that reason, I wish there were MORE complaints like the one this lady has made. Medical arrogance is still arrogance.

Also,spare me the garbage about fat people costing everyone more. Fat people pay insurance too (often more) and insurance is a service, not a mandatory tax. Additionally, remember cause and effect are two different things, before you start pointing fingers at "obesity" when it comes to diabetes.

Above all, Bigotry is still bigotry. When you make assumptions about somebody because of his size (example:"fat AND stupid")and then use those assumptions to treat him differently, YOU ARE A BIGOT. Period.

It doesn't matter if you think he "can" change. It doesn't matter if you think he "should" change. The fact is, your opinions do not excuse discrimination and YOU are responsible for your behavior.

Dr. Bennett is responsible for his own ill-advised comments. He is not a martyr, and, so far as I could tell, he's not "dispensing sound medical advice," either.

I suggest reading any one of the following books:

The Obesity Myth
Big Fat Lies: the Truth about your weight and your health
Losing It: False Hopes and Fat Profits in the Diet Industry
The Body Wars
Invisible Woman: Confronting Weight Prejudice in America

Oh, yes, the truth hurts, but when it comes to obesity, the last thing many doctors, pundits, media people and advertisers are telling is the truth.

YOu can hate on fat people all you want, but one day, you're going to see that they were right and Bennett was wrong. On that day, you will lose the excuse for your bigotry, because, without the blanket statement: "fat is unhealthy," neither you nor Dr. Bennett has any basis for saying anything about a stranger's weight.

Posted by: backoff at August 27, 2005 12:24 AM

A doctor who gives his diagnosis should be able to do so without fear of retribution. If you do not like what he says or how he says it, then go to another doctor. Complaining to the state about him is just wasting a lot of people's time and money.

Our bodies were not made to carry so much extra weight to say that obesity is not a health problem is ridiculous. You may not die from it but many ailments (diabetes, hypertension, joint pain, respiratory problems) are linked to it and your quality of life *does* suffer. It is ignorant to say otherwise.

Posted by: Jody at August 27, 2005 09:42 AM

While the doctor should be able to give diagnosis without fear, "you are statistically likely to outlive your husband and then you'll have difficulty finding another one" is hardly a medical advice. The woman didn't come to him for a dating advice. I do think complaining to the board is out of proportion - she could've simply changed the doctor and told all her friends not to use this one; or she could've simply responded in kind (either by saying that her love life is none of his business; or saying she'd be sure to contact him if she needs matchmaking advice or saying that she finds his comments unprofessional and insulting; or find some other retort;). But so far we only heard his side of the story so we don't know what was said and in what tone of voice.
I don't believe comments on who is likely to die first as well as her prospects of finding another husband when or if her husband dies are likely to motivate anybody to loose weight either.
One other thing. Doctors are not our daddies and female patients who don't follow their advice are not their teenage daughters. Doctors can offer medical advice, but patients have a right to say no to any treatment or test. The doctor can (politely) inform about the health (not romantic) risks of our choices, but he has no right to admonish us or give us lectures. So if it is her choice to stay obese, she has a right to it (as long as she doesn't take half of my seat on the plane and forces me to fit into the tiny remaining space - sorry, but a single ticket only entitles one to a single seat; I know this is irrelevant, but after having to sit for 4 hours next to a guy who raised the handle separating our seat and took half of the space I was entitled to ...). The doctor can inform her of health(!) consequences; he can recommend a healthier diet and exercise, but he has no right to admonish her as a child or discuss her looks and love life.
Just my humble opinion. By the way I do believe that it is possible to loose weight if one wants it badly enough - I lost 17 pounds last year (I know it is not nearly as much as some people need to), but it took a lot of work and willpower; both healthy balanced diet and exercise and old fashioned calorie-counting and not making exceptions for any 'special occasions'. But it can only be successful if one really wants it for herself.

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Posted by: alvaro at September 20, 2005 07:46 PM
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