Do I Have the Right NOT to Be Weighed?

  1. Hi everyone...

    Was at the doctor for a routine gyn recently and of course the tech was doing all the pre-lims like BP and stuff. She wanted me to get on the scale, which I always defer when I've been to the doctor before. (I see a doctor 'group', so whoever I get on that day is who's there. No particular 'primary'). I politely deferred the weight and the tech told me the doctor would not see me unless I got on the scale. What's that about?!

    The reason I don't get on the scale is that I am in recovery from an eating disorder, and the scale is one of my triggers. It's so upsetting to me that just the act of stepping on it can screw up my whole day. I've tried standing bakwards on it, not looking at the numbers, etc, but the simple ACT is terribly upsetting. I know this is my issue, not theirs, but I am well within my appropriate weight range and I don't know why I MUST be weighed.
    Everytime I go there, I have to re-explain all over again why I don't get on the scale. Some are understanding, some are not.
    It's not like I was at the doc for a weight related issue...Can I refuse and still get treated?
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  2. 65 Comments

  3. by   LadyT618
    How do u know that you are in your appropriate weight range if you don't get on the scale?
  4. by   BSNtobe2009
    Fluctuations in weight are an important factor in health, appropriate medications, and sharp increases or decreases in weight can be a symptom of other diseases. Yes, your weight is extremely important in health assessment.

    If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, part of your recovery is facing this fear. I would continue to not look at the number or get on backwards, because I can understand how seeing your weight can be emotionally devastating. But the first step, is being able to get on the scale.

    I would also wager that having to explain this each time you go see your doctor would also be unnerving...explain this to your doctor and they should make sure you don't have to review this information with the tech each time you go in. I think that would help alot.
  5. by   cardiacRN2006
    Wow. I can't believe that the Drs office staff wouldn't be more understanding of your needs. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. There's no need to instigate the feelings behind an eating disorder by forcing someone on a scale.


    LadyT618-if you are in an appropriate weight range, then you know it. You won't need a scale to tell you that.
  6. by   Meerkat
    Quote from LadyT618
    How do u know that you are in your appropriate weight range if you don't get on the scale?
    Come on, there are ways of knowing besides the numbers on the scale whether or not my weight is appropriate. Clothing size being one. I'm 5'5" and wear either a 6 or an 8 in jeans, depending on the brand. That gives a decent estimation is where my weight is, without focusing on the numbers of the scale.
  7. by   RN007
    Hey, I understand completely (or as best I can as a person who does not have an eating disorder). One of my best friends has extreme, treatment resistant bipolar disorder, and her daughter is also bipolar, also recovering from an eating disorder. Being near scales continues to be a problem for her, and I respect that.

    I may have a simple reason: When I went to a surgeon for a consult recently, I commented on how much I hated getting on the scale and the woman told me the insurance companies require it. It proves that you were actually there. I know this doesn't solve your problem, unless maybe you could find out and run some interference with the insurance company?

    I wish you the best with your recovery. I know it's a challenging course.
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    YES, you have the right not to be weighed. And any doctor who would threaten to not see you unless you complied with this is blackmailing you---highly inappropriate and unprofessional, IMHO. I would change doctors in a heartbeat.

    That said, weight IS an important assessment, and indeed may be the most important one since you have admitted to an eating disorder. If you haven't already, I would suggest seeing a therapist to help you deal with this, as body weight should not hold so much meaning that seeing the numbers on the scale renders you dysfunctional.

    It's one thing when you avoid the scale because you know you've gained weight, or you're feeling just a little prickly that morning and don't want a lecture from the doctor on top of everything else you're dealing with; it's quite another when you literally cannot get on the scale or look at the numbers without being traumatized.

    Good luck to you, Meerkat, and by all means change doctors if this one continues to bully you, knowing your history.
  9. by   NurseyBaby'05
    :yeahthat:
  10. by   leslie :-D
    as a patient, you have every right to refuse, period!
    we all know the 'shoulds' of physical exams so i'll spare you the lecture.
    there have been sev'l times that i've refused many parts of my physical.
    i don't know if it's the tech or the md who's the actual bully here.
    you should personally speak to your doctor and ascertain if what she said is true.
    if it's not true, then she is out of line.
    if it is true, it's time to switch doctors.
    as the patient, you're in charge.

    with peace,

    leslie
  11. by   txspadequeenRN
    Of course you can refuse... I completly understand your complaint and would have made this very clear to the tech . All she has to do is put refused then you explain to your doc the situation.
  12. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from RN007
    Hey, I understand completely (or as best I can as a person who does not have an eating disorder). One of my best friends has extreme, treatment resistant bipolar disorder, and her daughter is also bipolar, also recovering from an eating disorder. Being near scales continues to be a problem for her, and I respect that.

    I may have a simple reason: When I went to a surgeon for a consult recently, I commented on how much I hated getting on the scale and the woman told me the insurance companies require it. It proves that you were actually there. I know this doesn't solve your problem, unless maybe you could find out and run some interference with the insurance company?

    I wish you the best with your recovery. I know it's a challenging course.
    As a former health insurance broker I can tell you that a few insurance co's do like to see this sort of standardized input on charts, that is, if and when they ever *might* audit them.

    All that is needed is to jot on the chart "pt. declined" under weight and the situation is taken care of. Unless the office notes this for every patient, there isn't going to be a problem.
    __________________________________________________ __________

    Meerkat - I hate this sort of patients as cattle mentality, and ordering patients around. I think some techs say this sort of thing just because they are afraid to deviate from the norm. They are probably afraid of the doc getting mad at them.

    I think I might have to call the office manager. I think I'd have to say something like: "I very much like being a client of Dr. XYZ at this office, and appreciate the care I have received. However, as Dr. XYZ's client, I chose not to not adhere to this request of weigh ins because I have an eating disorder and I find weigh ins distressing. Could you please note this on my chart so there isn't confusion regarding weigh ins at future visits."

    This would telegraph to the office manager that you do appreciate the office and that you are cordial. By using the lingo of the day, client and adhere, rather than 'patient' and 'comply', you are reminding them of your ownership of your own darn body and right to decline. I think it's a gentle nudge to use the lingo that is associated with the shift in medicine to recognizing patient autonomy.

    Oh this whole thing just makes me mad.
  13. by   llg
    Of course ... then there's the question...Does the doc HAVE to see every patient who comes for care? Does he/she have the right to refuse to care for patients in non-emergent situations that will not allow a full assessment of their condition?
  14. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from llg
    Of course ... then there's the question...Does the doc HAVE to see every patient who comes for care? Does he/she have the right to refuse to care for patients in non-emergent situations that will not allow a full assessment of their condition?
    Sure! The doc can refuse non-emergent situations.

    I just think that if the doc knew what was going on - she or he probably wouldn't insist on the weigh in. However, if the doc does insist on the weigh in knowing how much it upsets Meerkat - it's probably time to find another doc who is more respectful.

    I do know that docs can 'fire' patients. My father is such a difficult nutjob of a patient that he has been 'fired' by two docs. :spin: Dad got certified letters in the mail from the docs saying "not your physician as of -- because of your non-compliance..."
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Oct 28, '06

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