Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

For Shame: Physicians Deny Care To Those Who Are Obese And Pregnant

How does one teach compassion? Either you have it or you don’t. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times made me cringe.  In South Florida, fifteen ob-gyn practices out of 105 polled said that would not take care of a pregnant woman who weighed more than 200 to 250 pounds.  The article goes on to describe two ob-gyn business partners who cited malpractice issues and fear of being sued as a reason for excluding obese women in their practice. So, what’s next? Will pregnant women be denied access to care based on bank accounts or zip codes? Where their children attend school? Whether they own a pet? Where do we draw the proverbial line?

One of my most frustrated moments in clinical practice was dealing with an imaging center who had cancelled my patient’s ultrasound procedure because they were “afraid she was going to break their table.” The patient was excited about her first pregnancy and wanted to do everything in her power to have a healthy baby. The first time I met her, she was almost apologetic about her weight. Most obese patients are. My staff had to locate an imaging center that was not only willing to accept the patient but her Medicaid insurance as well. No one should not have to endure that level of humiliation.

Whether we like it or not, Americans are obese and as physicians, we have done very little to reverse that process. I learned more about nutrition from Weight Watchers® then I did in medical school. Yes, we set up for-profit- weight- loss centers but the motivation is clearly about money. To my South Florida colleagues who exclude obese women from their practice, shame on you. Where did you do your residency training? In a vacuum? The very nature of obstetrics is inherent with risks whether the patient is obese or anorexic. You therefore look for the red flags and proceed accordingly. If a problem exceeds your level of expertise, then refer the patient to the maternal fetal medicine specialists but please don’t discriminate.  The unborn babies of obese women are just as important as anyone else’s. If you’re that afraid of challenges, then perhaps it’s time to change your profession.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »