Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Note to doctors: A bit of compassion, please...

A woman I know went to a clinic today for something and received a stern lecture from the doctor she saw (for something completely unrelated to her weight) about her being "obese" and needing to lose weight. She was then ordered to the hospital for blood tests to check her "cholesterol".

She was humiliated. The doctor was very blunt about the whole thing and made her feel horrible. She told me that her self-esteem was destroyed within one minute - to the point of her having to tell the doctor to basically shut up. Good for her!

As far as being "obese" goes, this woman does need to lose some weight - perhaps 40 lb or so. Maybe more? I don't know. But believe me when I say this, she wears it very well and no one would turn their head in a mall and point at her.

As someone who has been overweight all his life, KNOW THIS:


You don't have to make a huge announcement like we have a secret tumour growing out of our forehead. We KNOW we're overweight. Trust me, if we wanted your help, we'd ask.

There has got to me a more subtle way of mentioning blood tests for cholesterol or other issues. "Have you had any blood tests lately? It's good to have some benchmarks done every couple of years in order to make sure everything is OK. Everyone should have them! I have them, too!" Now, to me, that sounds perfectly reasonable for anyone - overweight or not. But DO NOT lecture me, please, or scare the crap out of me about my "cholesterol" before you even know what the readings are!

And for the record, I had 240 lb to lose and my blood tests were stellar. No diabetes. My cholesterol (if you think it's that big of a deal) was among the lowest the doctor had ever seen - he was quite frankly astonished, considering my size. Everything else (blood-wise) was perfect.

If you're a doctor and you're genuinely concerned with a person's weight - and of course you should be - try to find a bit of tact and diplomacy within you. There's a way of getting the tests you want without humiliating the person.

And if you can't do this, well then just shut up and fix the problem the patient was there for in the first place.

And let me repeat... "WE KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!"

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