Dr. Helen Carter doesn't want to treat fat people. Fat people, she says, are a risk to her staff -- she claims, without citing specifics, that several of them were injured by obese patients. I have to wonder how this happened. Having been obese for most of my adult life, I somehow managed to get through the years without once injuring anybody with my fatness, and I have never had a mishap in the doctor's office. What were these people doing? Having wheelchair races down the hall? Slugfest over doughnuts in the lounge? Leaping on and off the exam table in a reckless manner? Heck, if they can do that, they must not be that fat.
I'm not saying it can't happen. If a heavy person accidentally steps on someone's foot, that's going to hurt a lot and maybe even break it. Maybe you could bump into someone or fall and they could be hurt trying to catch you. I don't know. These things could happen to people who weren't obese as well.
Dr. Carter also doesn't want to treat fat people because her office does not have the "resources" required. Again, I'm curious. What special resources are required to treat fat me for bronchitis? My GP has managed to handle my big ass for years, without breaking out a cattle scale or an extra large blood pressure band. Perhaps this was exceptional. But Dr. Carter's office can't handle the special needs incurred by Fat Person Flu, so she recommends they head on down to the obesity clinic down the street.
Because, you know, when you're fat, ALL your health concerns are related to your obsesity, whether or not "normal" people have the same issues. Got a cold? It's a Fat Cold. Diabetes? Everybody knows only fat people get diabetes. Who knows, maybe it's just that your fat cooties might spread to "normal" people in the waiting room, and pretty soon Dr. C. would have to spring for chairs without arm rests or something.
By the way, in case you're interested, Dr. Carter's cutoff is 200 pounds. Do you suppose she's installed a scale at the waiting room door? One where you have to step on it before you go in, and if you 're over the mark, a big buzzer goes off and you're not allowed to enter? I imagine they'd still bill you for the office visit, though. Maybe even a little extra, for the trouble of dealing with your fatness.
But it's all good, according to the compassionate Dr. Carter, because the fat folks she's treated for a while are "grandfathered in". She'll tolerate the fatties she already knows; she's only turning down new fatties. And good news ! At least two of them have been "motivated" by her refusal to provide their fatt butts with medical care! Can you imagine the low self-esteem you've got to have to want to lose weight so you can be good enough to be seen by a doctor who disdains you?
I would be motivated by Dr. Carter's attitude, as well. I'd be motivated to tell her she's a disgusting bigot and take my fat dollars to a doctor who had the "resources" to treat me. Resources like respect, compassion, and the honest desire to heal, even when the patient wasn't ideal.
This sort of discrimination isn't illegal, either. According to the American Medical Association, doctors can choose who they want to treat. I wonder if that means racist doctors can turn away people who are the wrong color. We already know religious doctors can refuse treatment if it goes against their personal beliefs. Talk about specialists! "Will only treat white pro-lifers with a BMI of 24.9 or less."
By the way, while Dr. Carter's attitude may be reprehensible, it's not uncommon. I read a number of medical blogs, out of interest, and it's quite clear that many --- not all, but many --- medical personnel have a special disgust for the morbidly obese. Granted, ER personnel see a lot of the worst of the worst, including people who haven't cared for themselves or their personal hygeine, and that has to be really gross to deal with. But it saddens me to see how disrespectful they can be.
Honestly, a medical office is the last place on earth anyone should have to deal with fat hate, and yet I'd be surprised if there were any overweight person who hadn't been fat shamed at the doctor's. I certainly have been. And maybe that's why Dr. Carter's soft-spoken ("See? I'm not mean! I'm being professional!") stance is so very offensive to me.
Everyone deserves health care. Even if you've screwed yourself up past the point of no return. We're supposed to be an enlightened, compassionate, modern society. We don't kill deformed children at birth, we don't put our elders out in the desert to die, we don't leave the weak and dying behind (or at least, we're not supposed to).
Everyone deserves basic respect and courtesy. I'm fat, so what? You can see one of my major flaws and that makes it easy for you to judge me. But you have plenty of flaws yourself. Maybe you're a cheating on your wife or your income taxes. Maybe you bullied people in high school. Maybe you're a drunk, or a bigot. Hell, my kindly old dentist turned out to be a freakin' pedophile.
You don't have to take it. Look, we all want to be the best that we can be. I struggle daily with my weight, with my fitness, with my thought patterns about all of the above. I not a lazy or undisciplined person. I don't like having these issues, but neither am I ashamed of them. And I won't stand for being disrespected by the likes of Dr. Helen Carter. Not that she'd care, as my fat opinion probably means nothing to her; but I know that I don't have to smile and nod and pretend it's okay for people like her to discriminate against me because of my weight any more than I have to put up with crap from ignorant bigots because I happen to be a woman.
Rant over. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a shower. My fat butt and I just got through with our daily workout and green protein smoothie for lunch. I just hope my "normal person" bathroom has the resources to deal with me.