A New Low in Medicine: Doctors Turning Away Patients Whose Weight is High
It sounds incredulous, but a recent article on American Medical News reports that some Obstetrician/Gynecologist physicians in Florida are refusing to provide treatment to patients weighing over 200 pounds.
Although the average sane person might think that such behavior by physicians is illegal or that the American Medical Association (AMA) has rules against such practices, this is not so. If fact, there seem to be few guidelines for physicians in turning away patients.
Doctors can refuse to provide treatment for any number of reasons —from simple non-compliance to even having Medicare, though the AMA does advise “physicians not to refuse new patients due to race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Somehow, this is not very reassuring.
There is something quite wrong in our culture of medicine when doctors refuse patients based on the fact that they simply do not want to treat them. What about the Hippocratic Oath?
Regarding obesity, it is a serious problem. As is smoking, legal and illegal substance abuse and medication noncompliance, with the latter affecting at least 40% of the U.S. population. The reality is if physicians were to stop seeing patients who do not do what is proffered to them, they would not be able to fill their practices.
Many people do not do all they can to take care of themselves. For example, though I wish my patients would exercise more often, I know this is not realistic. So I work with them to find out what is getting in the way.
People are not perfect patients and that is why they need professionals to help them.
Let’s move away from blaming people for their flaws and limitations. Why can’t all medical professionals just do their jobs?
Greenberg, T. (2011). A New Low in Medicine: Doctors Turning Away Patients Whose Weight is High. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/aging/2011/05/a-new-low-in-medicine-doctors-turning-away-patients-whose-weight-is-high/