Doctor refused obese patient

  1. Did you guys read the articles about that doctor in Massachusetts who refused a patient because she weighed over 200 pounds? I was floored. She (the doctor) said that some of her staff got hurt taking care of obese patients in the past so now she will not take her as a patient.

    What do you guys think?

    I think there are some patients that doctors should consider refusing: like the frequent flyers with "chest pain" with no medical etiology who somehow needs 4mg dilaudid every 2 hours. I mean, go get high the old fashion way- at the corner street after handing $5 to a shady character.

    But refusing an obese person treatment?
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    About PeacenJoy

    Joined: Nov '08; Posts: 31; Likes: 77


  3. by   kakamegamama
    While I understand the physician's desire to protect her staff from injury, I can see that this attitude can be more detrimental to the patient. As one who struggles with weight, I am glad to know about this doctor , whose practice is only about 20 minutes from my home. I will be sure to avoid her if looking for a new pcp, until that time when I have some pounds off. Does present a question---does this mean that all health care providers have the right to reject caring for obese patients? If that is the case (and, from what the article says, it is), where will they obtain help? Doesn't this have the potential to do more harm than good to the patient and violates the Hippocratic oath? Does this mean this will translate to inpatient care in which we refuse to care for a patient because we might get hurt? Goodness....
  4. by   Asystole RN
    This has been happening for years now. There have been articles about OBGYNs refusing obese patients due to the risk etc.

    I just recently read an article talking about PCPs refusing obese diabetic patients due to medicare reimbursement. I guess medicare is linking (or going to) how well a patient controls their diabetes to the PCPs reimbursement. Some people do not want to modify their lifestyle, only manage their disease as best as possible, and PCPs will suffer from that. I wouldn't want to deal with it.


    The physician's patient relationship has always been historically one of a business relationship. This is one of the reasons why a physician can fire a patient, and a nurse cannot. Physicians have traditionally simply sold a service and are not duty bound as the patient's advocate like nurses.

    I would not judge the physicians too harshly, they are not nurses and we should not hold them to our professional standard.
  5. by   redhead_NURSE98!
    I am confused...this is an OB-GYN office? Why are nurses "handling" the patient?

    I don't really wish we could say no to our extremely large pts (400-500 lbs) but I do wish that we could tell the supervisor we need another ******* tech if we have one of these on the floor. I mean 3-4 staff in the room for 20 minutes every time a person like this is incontinent makes the other patients feel neglected.
  6. by   classicdame
    on the other hand, we have had to buy all sorts of EXPENSIVE equipment and do EXPENSIVE training and pay for EXPENSIVE medical care for our employees due to people who are morbidly obese. This is a chronic situation in America and causes lots of problems for all concerned. I can see the liability issues the doctor in question was considering. I also believe every patient needs unbiased care. A real dilemma.
  7. by   Mulan
    Doctor under fire for refusing to treat 200lb woman on grounds that too many staff are injured by obese patients | Mail Online

    quote 'Isn't there psychological and emotional harm done when a doctor - someone you're attempting to have an intimate, deeply personal relationship with - refuses to examine you because your body isn't thin enough?' quote

    sounds eerily like a woman complaining that a man finds her too fat to be sexually attractive
  8. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Thread moved to Nursing News forum. Interesting topic to debate...
  9. by   Trekfan
    Wow just wow .
  10. by   Trekfan
    To bad I do not live near her . I would have to go in just to see what she would when with a 300lb woman with a service dog ! And the kicker she is 200 her self .that's just sad .And how are fat people hurting the staff ?
  11. by   RNsRWe
    Ok, I'll play devil's advocate. After all, it's a debate!

    A doctor is not obligated to take on any patient who walks through the door. If a doctor decides a policy of not accepting obese patients/morbidly obese patients is a comfortable practice for them (or taking on such patients puts a strain on them in some way), then so be it.

    The patient has no "right" to receive treatment from the doctor of his or her choice, no questions asked. The doctor DOES have the right to refuse a patient he/she thinks will be non-compliant or in some other way will put his/her practice at risk. The liability for treating such patients is, as we are all aware, extreme.

    Heck, treating patients we think of as 'run of the mill' can be pretty risky--ask any malpractice carrier.

    So, limiting liability is just good business sense. After all, can't risk having some patients take you out of being able to care for others. Picking and choosing might be offensive to some, but I say don't judge until YOU have to be the one in their shoes.
  12. by   netglow
    If the practice is hers, she can do business with whom she wants. I don't see the problem. That is one of the perks of having your own practice. You make the rules for the most part. You can also fire any patient, let them know by formal letter, and give them time, and you are free from them. It can be a Godsend for a patient that is difficult. When I worked private practice, we didn't fire fat people, but we did those who kept bothering us with not following treatment orders and demanding us see them ASAP or to get scripts ASAP, etc. or those who refused even just $20 towards their bill they texted on their brand new iphones. How about the family that bemoans having 5 kids as a reason they need a discount on their bill? That one got sent to collections after I grabbed my Doc's arm and ran him over to our front window to show him the new Lexus SUV the mom carts her kids around in (she had told me she goes to the dealer every year to get the new one, 'cause she loves them so much).

    If you have your own business you can make most of the rules.
  13. by   elkpark
    I have no problem with this, just as I have no problem with physicians who refuse to treat smokers. Your (own) practice, your rules.
  14. by   wish_me_luck
    I know I am opening a can of worms here; but 200 lbs isn't necessarily fat. I mean, it's not thin but depending on your height, it's not obese. Maybe I missed something but I don't think the weight is so much that we are assuming that the person didn't take care of themselves.

    And before anyone says anything, I am a normal weight.