I was intrigued by this article in the NY Times called Why Do Obese Patients Get Worse Care? Many Doctors Don’t See Past the Fat. Yes, we are in a world that loves to label uncomfortable conversations with accusations. Fat shaming is a popular term and I can see how mocking people on Twitter or Facebook for being fat can be very hurtful and damaging. I get that. But let’s look at the title of this article again. How can we, as doctors, see past the fat when the fat is causing many of the issues? It is part of the differential diagnosis when looking for the etiology of an obese patient’s symptoms. You CANNOT look past the fat because you would then be doing a poor job if not outright malpractice. Remember, as the article states, one in three Americans is obese. Obese!?! Can we even use that word anymore or will they take that away from us? Anyway, the articles uses this quote:
“Physicians need better education, and they need a different attitude toward people who have obesity”.
I think that there is a compromise here. Doctors are trying to survive in a crappy job and sometimes put too much blame on the patient’s obesity than is deserved. That is because they are rushed and overwhelmed (not all, but most). On the other hand ignoring the patient’s weight is inappropriate as well (as noted above). I think what the patient wants is time with the doctor to acknowledge other possibilities for their symptoms as well as their fat. It should be BOTH. So, the answer is getting more time.
Alas, the current system won’t allow for more time to knowledge both unless the doc does DPC. So, this “quick to blame the fat for all ills” will continue. But here is the beautiful part. Articles like this, however, will force more political correctness into the medical field and cause a new trend where doctors TOTALLY ignore the obesity issue altogether in order not to get in trouble. The pendulum swings again.
Another victory for medical political correctness!Tweet