Tag Archives: Rudd Center

Doctor Posts Joke Video Demonstrating Stigma That Kills People. Where’s the Hippocratic Oath When You Need It?

So apparently Dr. Terrible is getting a run for his money in my all time list of creeps.  Meet Dr. Irresponsible and Dr. Hatemonger.

So yesterday, a number of people told me about a video posted on Kevin MD that was horrible beyond the normal bonds of horrible.  (Sorry, no power on earth will compel me to link to that ish.  Some things deserve exactly zero clicks.)  And the first thought that came into my mind is, “This video is going to kill people.  Literally.  People are going to see this video and they are going to not go to the doctor and they are going to die.”

You see this video, created by Waqas Khan or (Who calls himself Dr. I Am Sorry) was one of the most nightmare cases of bigotry, prejudice and racism I have seen in a long time.  (Again, not willing to give clicks here.  Google it if you must.)  In this video (which is part of a series of videos of unrestrained bigotry by the way) we see Miss Fatty going to the doctor.  In this short video we get to see all of the following tropes played out:

  • Fat people are slow.
  • Fat people are pushy.
  • Fat people eat nothing but junk food.
  • Fat people are completely incapable of understanding what they are eating.
  • Fat people are lazy.
  • Fat people have done nothing to try to lose weight.
  • Fat people are stupid.
  • Fat women will never find a man.
  • Fat people believe that there is a magic pill that will make them thin.
  • Fat people are guaranteed to get diabetes.
  • Fat people understand nothing about their bodies or their health.
  • Fat people never exercise.
  • Fat people don’t do anything their doctors tell them to do.

Oh and by the way, did I mention that Ms. Fatty is African American?  So all those stereotypes, yup, you can apply them ALL to African American women while you’re at it.  And you can add:

  • African American Women are fat.
  • African American Women are bossy.

A lot of this is punctuated by soliloquies by Dr. I Am Sorry. (Or “Dr. You Should Be Sorry and I Predict Will Be Soon” as I call him) spouting anger and bile and vitriol and bigotry towards his imaginary non-compliant patients that make it clear he has nothing but disgust and hatred towards them.

Okay.  Now let’s get to the killing people part.

We know from several sources, including the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity that weight stigma among American medical professionals is rampant.  In one study 24 percent of nurses reported being repulsed by obese patients and 12 percent preferred not to touch fat patients.  In another study, 48 percent of nurses reported being uncomfortable treating fat patients and 31 percent reported a preference for not having to care for obese patients at all.  Yet another study involving doctors found that two-thirds reported that their obese patients lacked self-control, and 39% stated that their obese patients were lazy.

Prejudice towards obese people in medical settings is well documented and you can bet that patients are aware of it.  Naturally for some fat people, this awareness makes them more fearful about going to the doctor.  In some cases it makes them delay going to the doctor or avoid going to the doctor altogether.  In one study, over 12 percent of women said they canceled or delayed doctor appointments due to concerns about how they would be treated regarding their weight.  In this same study, embarrassment over weight and concerns about how the doctor and staff would treat them was cited as the number one reason among women for cancelling or delaying appointments.  It is also well documented that when people delay or stop going to the doctor, they get sicker and they die sooner.

So we have a situation where:

  1. Doctors, nurses and medical students have a demonstrated bias against fat people.
  2. Fat people are aware of this bias.
  3. The awareness of this bias causes fat people to delay or avoid going to the doctor.
  4. The number one prescription of doctors for people is weight loss even though there is no medically proven (outside of amputation) method to achieve this for most patients–at least not long term, and the weight loss “cure” suggested by doctors is more likely to leave patients sicker, sadder and fatter than before.

And the solution suggested by these two “doctors”  is to create (Dr. Waqas Khan) and publicize (Dr. Kevin) a video that shows a fat African American woman actively demonstrating every stereotypical view that medical professionals typically hold about African American women and fat women while simultaneously demonstrating the medical profession’s hatred and disgust towards these very patients?  How is this not convincing even more people of size not to go to the doctor?  How is this not eventually killing people who have decided not to go to the doctor?  How is Hippocrates not jumping out of his grave to take away their medical licenses?

It’s time for doctors to realize that holding a lot of unsubstantiated and biased views about people of size is lazy, unethical, dangerous and deadly.  And it is way past time for doctors to realize that posting a pile of hate that pours lighter fluid on an already painful and problematic situation for a little click bait is beyond irresponsible–it can be fatal.

In short, shame on you doctors.  Shame. On. YOU.

Sincerely Yours,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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You know what’s fattening? News about the Obesity Crisis.

I wonder how many times studies will need to come out and people will need to talk about the damage caused by panic mongering over the obesity crisis before the media stops covering it.  I wonder if the media will ever stop sensationalizing fat.

Today I came across another article in U.S. News citing a small study that some women exposed to an article that appears to devalue fat people (how many of those do we see per day?)  seems to spur people to overeat.

The study was designed to determine if people who felt stigmatized for being overweight were likely to eat more, due to resulting anxiety or frustration, said study author Brenda Major. She is a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara…

Seeing media stories covering the so-called “obesity epidemic” and its potential impact on health care costs triggered Major’s interest in doing this study, she said. “There’s a frenzy about obesity in the media and there’s a negative, moralistic tone to the coverage,” she said.

Not surprising (to me at least) is that the results showed that presented with articles of how fat people were weak-willed or a high “cost to society” many of those studied turned to food for comfort.  The article cited other studies that indicate women placed in a situation where they felt devalued because of their weight had higher blood pressure and studies showing that discrimination based on weight can lead to weight gain.

And just this week, another study was released by the Rudd Center regarding the effect of weight stigma on cortisol reactivity.  What was truly fascinating about this study, is that perceived weight stigma affected the cortisol levels of all women, regardless of BMI.  So in other words, women of all sizes carried significantly greater levels of stress hormones after a single incident of weight stigma.  These stress hormones are related to many processes in the body including regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure.

All of which leads us to ask the question again.  Why oh why oh why does the world feel that it is okay to stigmatize fat people for their own good.  It doesn’t do fat people any good.  And in fact, there is ever increasing evidence that weight stigma makes people less healthy and probably makes them gain weight.

I think we have to start to wonder what various people and groups are getting out of wagging their finger at the fat folks.  Do they get a sense of superiority?  Do they get higher ratings?  Do I care why they do it?  Nope.  I just want them to stop.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

First Do No Harm: Are Doctors Who Discriminate Hurting Us?

Hippocrates: “First, do no harm.”

There’s been a fairly hot story in the news this week about a Shrewsbury, MA doctor who has publicly stated that she will not treat patients who are over 200 pounds.  Dr. Helen Carter claims that several of her medical staff were injured treating larger patients and that she doesn’t want to see anyone who weighs more.

The story broke after one patient, who had actually come in for her second appointment had been sent home.  Ida Davidson was very surprised when she came in for her follow-up appointment and was told, that she would no longer be accepted as a patient since she weighed over 200 lbs.  Dr. Carter said she did not feel equipped to deal with Ida’s needs.  She stated, “There’s an obesity center over at UMass that is much better staffed and has more resources than I do.”

Now first, let me state for the record, Dr. Carter’s decision is not illegal.  Doctors can choose to take on patients or not take on patients as they see fit.  But is it ethical?  Is her response even logical?  She refuses to provide any detail about the injuries to her staff workers from working with patients over 250 pounds.  And really, it seems the vast majority of medical offices out there routinely handle patients of that size and much larger without any injuries to medical staff.  One might question what these med techs were doing in a traditional doctor’s office to cause such problems.  And to be frank, me thinks the doc doth protest too much.  I’ve talked to a number of med techs who point out that the sort of routine care offered in a typical doctor’s office should not result in injuries to the staff of any kind, if the med techs were properly trained and following reasonable procedures.

While Dr. Carter may state that she is looking after her staff with this decision, I can’t help thinking that there are other motivations at work.  Maybe Dr. Carter just doesn’t like fat people.  Ida Davidson makes it clear that she felt outraged and humiliated about the way the whole thing was handled.  She felt the doctor had engaged neither tact nor compassion, and I quote, “She didn’t care about my health that day.  I think she just cared that I was a liability to her, maybe, and that I was too much work.”

But I also have to wonder if greed plays a part in Dr. Carter’s decision as well.  Increasingly, doctors are seeing financial bonuses from insurance companies and medical groups for keeping their patients within certain metrics.  In many cases, those metrics include BMI.  So I have to wonder, is this decision really about protecting her staff or filling her bank account?  And I also wonder, where will this end?  Will doctors ultimately decide we are too expensive to treat?  Will they stop seeing average-size or larger people at all?  Will they only agree to treat people who they deem healthy and avoid those with expensive problems?

But perhaps most alarming to me is the question of whether or not fat people will be so humiliated and stigmatized by their doctors that they will stop going altogether.  I’m far more frightened about the patients that Dr. Carter has turned away who are not brave enough to talk to CNN.  What about the patients who simply internalize the shame, and don’t go to see the doctor at all any more.  The Rudd Center has done a lot of work in documenting weight bias among medical professionals.  It is real, and it has a profound effect on the health and well being of people of size.  As the Rudd Center points out: people who are the victims of weight bias by medical professionals “are reluctant to seek medical care, cancel or delay medical appointments, and put off important preventative medical services.”

My dear Chicklettes.  I have experienced weight bias from doctors in the past, and I have allowed it to keep me from going to the doctor. I have allowed myself to feel sad and worthless by men and women in white coats.  I have suffered needlessly with medical conditions that would have been far less severe if I had gone to the doctor sooner.  So learn from my mistakes.  Make sure to find a doctor who treats you well.  You deserve to be treated with respect.  You deserve to receive competent, compassionate health care no matter what your size or shape or age or ability.   Please remember you are not a liability.  You are a unique and amazing person.

Love,

The Fat Chick