Dear Doctor Fat

Dear Doctor Fat,

 

I had been to see you, or your clinic, before. That time, possibly years ago now, I’d had a massive headache that no amount of over the counter drugs helped. Whoever I saw at your clinic told me it was just stress, and that my blood pressure was high and I should come back and get tablets. I never really thought much of your clinic, because of course my blood pressure was high when I’d had a headache all day and nothing was working. Cause and effect; it’s really not that complex. And my blood pressure is usually low, not high.

 

Regardless, when I needed a second opinion on my “viral” tonsillitis recently, I booked back into your clinic. You bulk bill and had appointments in the early evening, so I thought that was good for this commuter.

 

But sadly, I’m just not happy with you. To say the least.

 

Dear Doctor Fat

 

I told you I was there for a second opinion. I ran through the dates of my recent illnesses and prescriptions. I told you some of my recent medical history, including my low iron and the treatment my GP & dietitian decided on.

 

You kept asking me if there was anything else. I was tired and sick and didn’t know what you meant. I said I had seen an ENT was on a pubic waitlist for tonsil surgery. You said “that’s what I wanted to hear”.

 

You didn’t think to just ASK me if that’s what you wanted to know? I could (vaguely and unhappily) understand if you were asking for more symptoms, maybe you didn’t want to put the idea of them in my head. But asking if I’ve seen a specialist¬†isn’t the same. There is no harm in asking me if I’ve seen an ENT.

 

I was annoyed at you at this point. Please respect that your patients are sick and even with a list of dates and recent history, I was still tired and confused. BECAUSE I WAS SICK.

 

You confirmed that my condition seemed viral. Rest was prescribed. Medical certificates for work were printed. If X or Y got worse, I was to go to the hospital. All fine.

 

But what you didn’t need to do was ask me what I weigh and tell me that if I lost weight, I would have a better immune system. Look, I’m sure on paper the statement is true. But here are the problems I have with what you said:

 

  1. You had scales in your office. If you wanted to know what I weighed, you could have asked me to step on them. They were in plain sight. It seems to me that the numbers themselves didn’t matter to you.
  2. I had already told you I work with a dietitian. (By the way, she is fine with how I eat.)
  3. There was no immediate purpose to the statement about my weight. I can’t lose 20kgs overnight to make my immune system fight this infection better.
  4. You offered no medical advice about my weight. No referral to support services. All you offered was judgement in your tone and body language.

 

Now, all you’ve done to me is piss me off and make me not want to visit your clinic again. But please consider what you’ve said and how that may have harmed someone who struggles with the mental aspects associated with weight, body shape, and I’m sure a million other variables that I am not aware of or qualified to speak about. You could seriously set someone’s physical and mental health back with your pointless comments.

 

Please learn to offer advice that is relevant to the consultation, and save your judgement for your own little world.

 

And I do mean little world.

 

Regards,

A Patient You Will Not Be Seeing Again

 

Vanessa Smith

19 Comments

  1. I don’t blame you for being angry. Judgement for judgement’s sake is beyond pointless – it’s rude, intrusive and…don’t get me started. Doctors with superiority complexes make my blood boil. #TeamLovinLife

    • Luckily I’ve got practice at thinking “d-bag” and moving on. But it does worry me for other people he may impact.

  2. I so get this. I “was” very overweight and I “knew it” derrrr. However all other aspects of my health checked out fine and NO doctor said anything to me as they realised I was fine until my (now retired) judgy judgy Gastoenterologist when I saw him after a bout of pancreatitis. He said “you look like you’ve put on weight” I got on the scales. Guess what I was less then than the last time…did he say ‘oops’ no! Let me tell you this. I have now lost 30kg+ since 2014….not by dieting…not anything at all other than anxiety, change of lifestyle and IBS. it has come at a cost but in general I feel comfortable but I am still told my mouth issues must be because ‘my immunity is low’ Go figure. And avoid that doctor at all costs!! Gosh I hope 2017 becomes a better year for you health wise soooooon

    • And that’s the thing; apart from this persistent infection, I’m generally healthy (just a crappy immune system, which I’ve had since I had glandular fever). Blood tests for the usual “lets see how you are” things all come back fine for me.

  3. You poor thing. It’s been one thing after another for a few years hasn’t it? I hope they get to an underlying cause. I hate doctors who toss around the ‘need to lose weight’ thing without actually paying any attention to what else is happening. It’s almost a relief they can blame ‘something’.

    • But all have been kind of minor too. It’s weird. The link between glandular fever and ongoing health problems is one I know it’s a bit contentious as it’s too specific to prove/disprove with usual testing, but it is something that I’ve wondered many times. And I think you’re right, most just need to blame something. It’s eye-rollingly pathetic.

        • It’s one of those things that there is a ton of anecdotal evidence for but no one will probably ever say for sure as it’s so hard to really test the connection.

  4. I stopped seeing our local GP because she seems to have a fixation with weight. I mean does she think I can’t see in the mirror that I need to lose some. When will GPs get wholistic about our health. It infuriates me too. I hope you are feeling better soon, this really has been hanging around.

    • Some GPs just get obsessed. It’s like they’ve been reading PR releases for Type 2 diabetes too much. And since when does “hey you’re fat” help vs “would you like to see someone, I can refer you to x or y”…. just bad attitudes on the GP’s side!
      I think I’m now in my 7th week of tonsillitis/related issues. I’m starting to lose track!

  5. Please send this link to his clinic. This is so unprofessional and disgusting and I’m sorry you had to deal with such an insensitive, judgy prick

    • From what I could tell on their website, the doctor I saw is the owner of the clinic, so I’m going to say they would have a really low care factor.

  6. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had an experience like this, Vanessa. Hope you continue on your road to wellness with this infection.
    SSG

  7. Wow there are some crap doctors out there. Have to say it, but many of them are the bulk billing ones (you get what you pay for) but it gets so darn expensive, especially when you have to go often! I’m a bit ticked off because hubster has seen a bulk billing GP for certain symptoms and after he was cleared of the possibliity of a stroke, it got put in the “too hard” basket and no explanation was given. Since then, thanks to Dr Google, I’ve discovered the symptoms are warning signs of Type 2 Diabetes (which is quite likely as his dad is diabetic) – UMMM WHY DIDN’T THE DUMB DR THINK OF THIS!!!! Instead we had no solution or resolution to his symptoms … grrr … at least now he has some idea that he needs to modify diet and lifestyle …

    • Ben is always put in a too hard basket by doctors. We go to the local bulk billing clinic and some of the doctors just grunt at you – others are pretty good (and Ben’s doctor is amazing). There’s just no way of telling until you see them. Hope your hubby can find someone to help him – a good diabetic educator or dietitian is really important to learn what to eat.

  8. I have been to so many dud doctors over recent years so I know how frustrating it can be. I hope you get to the bottom of your problems and feel much better soon! xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Well overall I’ll get better when the tonsils get snipped out! I’m just reaching a chronic stage with them where they’re impacting me so much.

  9. Some doctors are truly gifted at what they do and others are an abomination. So sorry you found yourself with the second sort. It’s difficult to find the gifted kind. I have one now and at my clinic, he’s the one with the queue of patients outside his room while the others have only one or none. (Seriously.) x

    • That’s the same as Ben’s current GP – the waiting room fills up for him. He’s so good with complex and chronic patients. The others…well I see a few that I’m happy enough with, and others in the clinic just grunt at you in appointments.

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