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.
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 public 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:
- 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.
- I had already told you I work with a dietitian. (By the way, she is fine with how I eat.)
- 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.
- 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.
A Patient You Will Not Be Seeing Again