This is not a post about my favorite TV series Dr. Who and the sadness over the 11th Doctor Matt Smith leaving.
This post is about a study that shows fat people changing doctors more than thin people.
Overweight and obese patients are significantly more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to repeatedly switch primary care doctors, a practice that disrupts continuity of care and leads to more emergency room visits, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.
This made me think of my own history. I realized that over my lifetime I've had 3 different dentists and 3 different gynocologists but a whopping 12 primary care doctors. I dropped five of them for either pressuring me to lose weight and/or assuming I had "fat-related diseases".
- Doctor#1: At 10, he was the first doctor to give me the fat talk.
- Doctor #2: I asked him how to lose weight, he told me to eat less.
- Doctor #3 & 4 were the first doctors I chose on my own and dropped because I moved. At the time I didn't really see doctors unless I was sick and I think I saw these two a total of 4 times over 2 years. I don't remember if they ever brought up weight, but if they did, I probably told them I was dieting.
- Doctor #5 didn't bother me about my weight but I moved again. I remembered that he refused to drain a scary blister on my finger.
- Doctor #6 was recommended by a thin friend as being holistic, except that I found that when she would go, he would recommend alternative medicine first and for me prescription drugs.
- #7 and 8 were a husband and wife team. I left them when they kept insisting that I do something about the high blood pressure I never had.
- #9 said my fat was the reasons my veins collapsed.
- #10 recommended weight loss surgery (Also ironic that Dr. Who #10 is my least favorite doctor.)
- #11 was okay because by now I was into size acceptance. I left because I found a new doctor who could do blood tests on site. (#11 is still my backup).
- #12 is the doctor I have now. He's weight neutral. He occasionally mentions my weight but he never refuses to treat me or push me to lose weight.
It's hard to find a doctor these days who doesn't parrot the diet industry and say all you have to do is eat less and exercise and you will be thin or has bad assumptions about fat people. A recent study showed 1/3 of medical students in North Carolina are biased (subconscious or otherwise) against fat people.
More than one-third of the students had a moderate to strong bias against obese people, as measured by the test, whereas only 17 percent had an anti-thin bias. Two-thirds of the students were unaware of their anti-fat bias.
With statistics like these, no wonder Fat people are doctor shopping which is yet another barrier to our health care.
I have some advice to try to avoid this but it may not happen. The doctor who recommended weight loss surgery was weight neutral.
#1. Your new doctor needs the fat talk. That's the talk where you tell him or her that you are aware you are fat, you don't wish to talk about weight-loss and you are following HAES (Bring Linda Bacon's book or study to show the doctor). When I told Doctor #12 that, he said "Okay." And he's been my doctor ever since. Once I saw a specialist I once saw interrupted my fat talk, and blame my ailments on being fat. I never went to her again.
#2 For every doctor you got to keep copies of all tests done. Keep them in a binder or folder and if you need to move doctors, at least you have a medical history to give them.
#3 Educate your doctor. I taught my chiropractor about Health at Every Size.
#4 Consult Fat Friendly Health Professionals to see if anyone is in your area.
#5. A good doctor may not be weight neutral but they shouldn't refuse to treat you unless you lose weight.
Finally while I have enjoyed Matt Smith as Doctor Who, my favorite is #3 Jon Pertwee.