Obese patients are claiming that the treatment they receive is being compromised due to the prejudiced attitudes of their physicians.
Misdiagnoses, under prescribed doses, and even lack of testing are some of the personal claims being made by overweight and obese patients. These patients state that their doctors overlooked their complaints and immediately blamed all issues on their weight.
This event seems to effect many obese people. However, obese and overweight women are experiencing this discrimination at higher rates. Women report seeing this type of behavior at BMIs as low as 27. That’s compared to men, who don’t seem to experience this treatment until their BMIs hit 35.
In a report from Today Health, surveys given to health care professionals concluded that obese patients are viewed as “weak willed,” “sloppy,” and “lazy.” These reports bring to light that the discrimination is not just patient perception, but a serious issue in our health care system.
If obese patients’ problems are being overlooked and under-minded, what other category could have a stigma attached? Are American patients receiving good care from our doctors? What can be done?
Thankfully medical school criteria is expanding. In the past, there was very little training available on weight issues. Today, courses are being offered that focus on all the causes of obesity, including the uncontrollable causes. The doctors who participate in these classes seem to diminish their bias.
While obesity is largely to blame on personal lifestyle choices, it is not a cause to receive poor medical care from your doctor. There are many physicians who rise above the prejudice and provide professional care to all patients. And, thankfully, we live in a country where we have the right to choose our doctor. If we are not getting adequate care, we can choose one who’s also taken the oath not to discriminate against any of their patients.
July 8th, 2011