My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Reasons a Doctor Should Be Able to Tell You You're Fat

There is an interesting article in the News and Observer today about a doctor in Asheville, NC who is in a bit of trouble with the medical board. Apparently a patient filed a complaint about his bedside manner because he told her she was 'irresponsible for being unemployed, on Medicaid, and relying on taxpayers to cover another pregnancy after giving birth less than a year earlier' and he 'poked her thigh and told her she was fat.' Look, I don't want to offend anyone, but I like this guy. I don't go to the doctor for him or her to candy-coat things. What if your dentist told you your teeth were beautiful while letting them rot out of your mouth? What if your OB-GYN knew of a preventable risk to your unborn baby and didn't tell you? This doctor told her that her obesity could complicate her diabetes and lead to blindness. That was the context of the 'fat' comment. So should he lose his license?

Basically he said he's 77 and doesn't care what they do to him. It's his job to promote good health and healing and he's not doing his job if he doesn't call it how he sees it. But apparently, there's a lot of sympathy for the thigh-poke. It upset her. It made her feel bad. Hmmmm. Well, here are the reasons why I think the doctor should not only keep his license, but be applauded for his candor.

1. Don't you think she KNEW she was fat? It wasn't like he wasn't stating the obvious. He was just putting it in context of her illness. She went to the eye doctor, diabetes affects the eyes, obesity affects diabetes. Call me crazy, but he would be negligent to NOT mention the obesity.
2. Isn't this his JOB? Did she go to the eye doctor to receive compliments and happy feelings? No, we presumably go to a doctor for his PROFESSIONAL opinion. Bedside manner is highly overrated. Occasionally you have a great doctor who has both an amazing bedside manner and a brilliant grasp of his field, but if you had to choose between the two, wouldn't you choose knowledge and brilliance--even if he was a little rough around the edges?
3. Hasn't she seen HOUSE? Calling someone FAT would be a mild day for Dr. House.

So here's the thing. We need to value our medical professionals for their experience, educational, wisdom, knowledge, and guess what, candor! They can have all the knowledge in the world, but if they're not allowed to say it, what's the point.

But it would kind of piss me off. I hope and pray it's the impetus she needs to lose the weight for the sake of her children.

3 comments:

wordwranglernc said...

okay...so I truly want this guy as my doctor. If he can give it to me straight and not care what I think...more power to him! :) where can I sign up?

Liz said...

I agree it is his job to tell her those things, however, I disagree that bedside manner is overrated. There is a tactful way to tell people anything, and if he used the word "fat" in a blase way, well then, I'd be offended, too. In fact, if he stated his comments in the way you posted them, I think it was too harsh. It is his job to give his suggestions, but in appropriate ways, not in a way to make people feel even worse about themselves.
Can you dig it?

Liz said...

Oh and one more thing . . . perhaps he should refer her to a therapist!

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman