Some Florida Ob/Gyns Refusing Obese Patients

Some Florida Ob/Gyns Refusing Obese Patients. Saying that obese patients have a higher risk of medical complications, more than a dozen Sunshine State ob/gyn practices are now refusing to treat new patients who are obese, The Sun Sentinel reported.


One doctor who said he turns away obese patients told the newspaper: “People don’t realize the risk we’re taking by taking care of these patients. There’s more risk of something going wrong and more risk of getting sued. Everything is more complicated with an obese patient in GYN surgeries and in [pregnancies.]” Doctors added that ultrasound machines “do not give good images of internal anatomy of obese women” and that some of their exam tables and medical equipment “can’t handle people over a certain weight.”


The paper observed, “Turning down overweight people is not illegal for doctors, but the policy worried leaders of physician groups, medical ethics experts and advocates for the obese, all of whom said it violates the spirit of the medical profession.” (May 2011)


Let me first state that I am a fat person. Last year, my cardiologist ordered me to lose 100 pounds. I have been doing as he said, but it has been a struggle. Not because I'm eating poorly (we've made drastic and highly beneficial and healthy lifestyle changes), or not exercising (I do, vigorously, four times a week), but because I am peri-menopausal, and putting on muscle while I burn off fat. I've lost 22 inches, but only 15 pounds. No one can guess my weight, because I am tight, and hard bodied. But I am obese.
And I know damn well that if I were young enough to desire more children, no sane obstetrician would recommend it, much less condone it. I am too fat, and the risks are obvious. As a person who has struggled for decades with both physical weight problems, drug related weight gain, and body dysmorphia, I am still appalled at the idea of "Fat Acceptance". It is unhealthy. It is more lethal than smoking cigarettes (I am a former smoker...23 years former). There is nothing beautiful, or natural, about people who cannot walk correctly, or at all, or get out of bed, or wipe themselves, because they have eaten themselves to 400, or 500, or even more poundage.
I have been close to 300 pounds. At barely 5'2", for the only time in my life, my feet hurt, my walk was awkward, and I couldn't make it around the damned mall without sweating and gasping. Yes, I have physical issues (no thyroid function at all) and I have diagnosed mental illnesses, and a history of abuse, and I was taking Zyprexa, which is notorious for causing extreme weight gain. So what? I ate myself into that state, and I was the person who refused to take responsibility. It infuriates me that people want to make excuses for the morbidly obese.
The article doesn't mention how the doctors are determining who not to treat...but based on a comment about not having equipment able to handle the weight, or not being able to view internal organs using ultrasound...I would guess we are not talking about women who are moderately over-weight. We are talking about women who are subject to serious risk if they become pregnant, and who are also much more inclined to have high risk infants. Who, in other words, probably have no rational business becoming pregnant without losing a great deal of weight beforehand. Tell me, if a woman is too incompetent, or mentally or emotionally disabled to responsibly lose weight before she becomes pregnant, would YOU want to be the doctor caring for her during her pregnancy? If a woman has no accountability, do you think she would take any responsibility for the loss of her child due to her obesity? Or would she blame doctor, staff, and hospital...and sue them into the ground?
Medical ethics experts and advocates for the obese. What about advocates for health, common sense, and a little selflessness? Obesity is not an incurable disease, and it is screamingly irresponsible for a woman to become pregnant if her health is already horrible compromised by a condition she can reverse.
O, by the way, I lost weight deliberately, for health reasons, and exercised hard before both pregnancies. I gained 23 lbs with the first (and had a healthy 10 pound son), and 20 with the second (and had a very healthy 7 lb 11 oz boy). Both were delivered by c-section (bone structure, not choice. I couldn't have delivered a field mouse). If I sound disgusted and angry, it's because I see "Fat Acceptance" as a horrible indulgence of a disastrously unhealthy lifestyle and ***choice***. I don't blame the doctors one bit.