Thursday, August 25, 2005

How blunt should doctors be about a patient's weight problem? Would you want your doctor to tell you when your girth was in danger of affecting your health? I would.

Several years ago, when my gall bladder was first identified as the source of some of my problems, I asked the doctor, "Would it help the situation if I lost any weight?"

He would not commit to answer, or come right out and say that I was overweight. After much pressing, however, he did imply that, yes, I would put off the inevitability of surgery if I ate a lower-fat diet and maybe lost a few pounds.

I was not overly obese, just a bit overweight, but I lost over 30 pounds, and it definitely eased the pain I was feeling. Three years later I still wound up having to have the gall bladder surgery, but I had put it off and felt better for it by losing weight.

Still, I always wondered why the doctor refused to say the obvious; that was eating poorly and it was having a negative effect on my health. Now I see why:

A New Hampshire woman is suing her doctor for advising her to lose weight. There's no question of whether or not the advice was medically sound; only that it hurt her feelings.

Although he wrote her a note of apology, Dr. Terry Bennett may now lose the ability to practice medicine in the state. The woman's weight was not disclosed in the news article.

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Update: I just found another article at the New York Daily News, "Hefty complaint leveled against doc", the woman weighed in at 250 pounds and has diabetes.

I'm sorry, but if you are a 250 pound diabetic, you need to try to lose some weight. Get over yourself and admit it: you're obese and it's hurting you. Perhaps there's some reason why you can't lose weight, but don't be insulted when a doctor suggests it.

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