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What do physicians owe their patients?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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emoticon in advance for taking the time to check out this "revisit" blog. I originally wrote & posted it four years ago tomorrow. I continue to be interested in the input of others on this subject, so am resubmitting it for examination.

God bless us all with dedicated & caring physicians!

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On occasion I have heard folks say that they aren’t going to be inclined to listen if an overweight doctor told them they need to drop weight. Some have equated such a situation with the smoker who tells another not to pick up a pack of cigarettes or the drinker who tries to forewarn the unsuspecting on how easy it can be to get hooked on alcohol.

I have never been able to understand the thinking behind such statements. Just because a doctor deals with his/her own set of weight issues it does not make his/her knowledge about the benefits of weight reduction invalid. To this gal it says that they struggle & probably understand the dynamics of the situation much better than their slim counterparts do. It says that they care about a patient (who faces the same frustrating concerns as they do) enough to face possible ridicule by offering a wealth of helpful information aimed at helping correct the concern. As I see it we seek out our doctor for help with the medical concerns that we are faced with & their weight has nothing to do with their knowledge or their ability to share that knowledge in such a way as to help a patient.

As for the smoker who urges a non-smoker to never begin to smoke, I say they are indeed caring folks. They obviously know the pitfalls of smoking (addiction, extreme cost both financially & health wise, possibly a certain humiliation in obviously not having overcome that particular addiction, etc.) & care enough to try to forewarn others before they take the chance of becoming addicted to cigarettes. I say “Bravo!” to them!

As for the one imparting their wisdom on the ‘evils’ of drinking ~ who better to listen to than one who has traveled that road & lived to regret it?

Not having been a smoker or a drinker, I have never been in the position of having one addicted to those vices share about the dangers associated with either. However, I have dealt with weight issues & surprisingly enough, never once did my doctor broach the subject of my added girth. I believe that she assumed that I knew that my weight was not at a healthy level & that I was bright enough to bring up the subject if I wanted her help in dropping pounds or that I had the intelligence to make corrective changes when I got to the point of deciding “Enough is enough!”.

I finally did get to the point that enough was enough & made the decision that I was tired of carrying an extra forty-five pounds around & have successfully dropped thirty pounds to date. However, I have been pondering why my slim & trim doctor didn’t gently put me to task about my weight gain? Is she overworked to the point that she doesn’t have time to address such obvious concerns? Is she uncaring? Unfeeling? Unconcerned? Is her attitude lackadaisical in regard to my over all health?

As my physician what does she owe me with reference to addressing my tendency to pack on the pounds?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    When we don't accept the advice from drs because they are overweight etc we are only hurting ourselves. We accept so many dumb excuses from ourselves to avoid changing to healthy lifestyles.
    I went to an urgent care last fall. They gave me a slip of paper that had my BMI written on it with basically a caution note of the risks of obesity. The nurse nor Md mentioned interventions etc but just gave me the slip of paper to tell me I'm obese. Kinda felt like an F on a report card. Hmmm. I was more embarrassed then anything else. Had it been followed up by an offer for assistance I would have felt better. Mentally I used it as a reminder of yet another reason why I need to become more fit. They were trying but I don't think that intervention will bring them what they want. So basically I officially know I'm fat now. emoticon
    1545 days ago
    I have found that each person must be their own health advocate, educate themselves the best they can, and be open to what others tell them. I've seen good, caring doctors that I will gladly listen to, no matter what their own health is like. I've seen doctors who appear to be healthy who, for whatever reasons, don't pay attention to others and are in effect useless. There's always that fine line.
    1551 days ago
    Thought provoking! We all know each doctor is different.
    1551 days ago
    Personally I think that alot of the not taking advice from someone who's been there is really an excuse. Gives them an "out".
    My Dr. and I have talked about it a bit, altho I don't need to lose alot, just about 16 lbs. Wouldn't you think I could do that? But, I just can't work up the "gumption" and I know I'll be sorry. I did lose and keep it off several years, now a medication I'm on and my back issues have helped it re-apply itself. :( But I need to do something about it or not complain.
    Why do the Drs. "owe" us a weight chat? If we are going in for a physical, yes, that should come up. If we are going in for the flu, not so much. But my question is, if we know going in that we need to lose, why is the Dr's. fault for not bringing it up? I see that as another excuse. My Dr. talked about the benefits, but did not offer weight loss help. That was up to me. People now look for someone to blame rather than take responsibility. Come on, you know if you are overweight. Figure out how to lose or at least try, don't blame it on someone else. Blame it on that extra helping and the couch, not the Dr. (This comes from someone who knows and is there, does that make my advice and knowledge have less impact?)
    1552 days ago
    Very thoughtful blog post and good questions! At my top weight, I was about 90 pounds overweight and not once did my Dr (a woman, thin) say anything about it until one day I asked if my weight put me in the "morbidly obese" category and she admitted that yes, it did. But even then she didn't offer any suggestions or advice, maybe waiting for me to ask. I do find this troubling. Obviously my weight is potentially the greatest health risk I have and my Dr says nothing?!? Having given this a fair amount of thought, what I concluded is that the medical profession has little to offer folks other than "lose weight". I think they're far more prepared to treat things like diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol than they are to advise on weight loss/control.
    1553 days ago
    emoticon thanks for bringing up the subject; good to thnk about!
    1553 days ago
    None of my doctors are over weight so I can't see myself have a problem but, if I ever do have an overweight doc I'll probably say something to him or her. emoticon
    1553 days ago
    On the topic of smoking: A dear neighbor died,-- likely from an illness related to years of chain smoking. He used to say, "You gotta die somehow"--so he enjoyed smoking. In his final days of suffering, he said that he would never have smoked if he had known the painful consequences.--- Isn't this a lesson!
    It drives me crazy to see young people smoking---WHY?
    In the olden days it was not clear about the health risks; now it is clear!
    1553 days ago
    My doctor is or normal weight ,she has information laying out in the waiting rooms , and usually asks if she can assist you with making changes in your lifestyle .This question is part of her routine as she goes over your chart .
    1553 days ago
  • JANET552
    You make excellent points!! I think doctors should address weight issues in some way. Mine mostly talks about nutrition and exercise. She seems happy that my weight is stable but suggests I lose a few.

    As for taking advice, people do so when it suits them. If they aren't willing to take the advice, they will have some reason for not doing so.
    1553 days ago
    That would be like discounting the warnings about breaking the law from someone in prison: He knows whereof he speaks.
    1553 days ago
  • GLC2009
    every time i go to a doctor and they ask if i have any health problems (medicals for driver's license, insurance, that type of thing), i say nope, just fat. they have all said you're fine, everyone gains a bit of weight as they get older. what?? i have been 265 pds. i am now 225 pds and need to lose at least another 45 pds (i'm 5'10"). now come on, how can you look at a person who is 50 or 80 pds overweight and say they are fine??
    now my mom, who is not overweight, sometimes she might gain 10 or 15 pds, says her doctors are always bugging her to lose weight. now how does this make any sense in the world?
    as far as trusting an overweight doctor about weight, i don't know. i mean how can they give advice when they don't know if it works or not? although, i guess i don't want diet advice from a naturally slim person either. well, i guess i just couldn't trust any doctor to discuss diet, could i? emoticon
    what i have really wanted is at least one doctor to agree that yes i am overweight and they are available for me if i want to discuss solutions.
    1553 days ago
    emoticon on your weight loss !
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    1553 days ago
    Doctors go back and forth on the weight issue. Most of them have, hopefully learned that hitting it too hard makes their overweight patients stop talking to them about other issues. I have left doctors when their response to my cold was a lecture on my weight, as if the added pounds caused me to catch a cold. My current doctor keeps an eye on my weight, but since all my other numbers are fine, I don't get pressured.
    1553 days ago
    Thank you for posting this. I believe you are pretty much right on the money. The thing about doctors that gets to me the most is when they don't seem to have the time to answer your questions or talk to the specialists they send you to and the different specialists don't communicate with each other. But my PCP is execellent. She called me recently one afternoon and talked with me for over 15 minutes on the phone explaining things to me where I could understand what was going on. She is a very busy doctor in this small city and I was very appreciative and she tells me also how proud she is of my successful weight loss. I am blessed to have her. Judi emoticon emoticon
    1553 days ago
    I agree with what you said about taking advice from those who know, whether it's overweight doctors or people who are struggling with other addictions. I think doctors, do care, but they may not mention it because they think it won't do any good. "If they want to lose weight, they'd ask about it" attitude. I've had several doctors mention it or I bring it up. They don't preach, and depending on my health at the time, they've said that I just need to deal with one thing at a time, like walking and breathing, and then deal with the weight. I don't think it means that a doctor is uncaring if they don't mention it.
    1553 days ago
    my DH has a bad back and hips, osteoarthritis, and he saw many specialists, I always go with him, and always ask if he lost weight it would help, not one of them said it would be a good idea, beings it was what it was, anyway, one said yes, it would be a great idea, and should help some, he was overweight, and within 4 months he lost 40 something pounds, and felt so very much better, all I denied him was mayonnaise (which he ate on most everything and fruit drinks, grape, apple orange etc. and so no real hardship on him, although he did miss the mayonnaise for quite a while, well he has gained back about 10 pounds, so we have to work on it again, did I mention he loves his dessert in the evening? emoticon

    1553 days ago
  • GENRE009
    I have a friend that has to be at least 350 pounds. they see themselves as only 100 pounds over weight, although I have tried to press the issue. they like to be delusional about their life. They are constantly telling me that every time they go to their doctor, he never fixes what's wrong with them. yet I always seem to discuss how they have a hard time communicating, or being direct. yet somewhere in this scenario, I do feel they're doctor doesn't care because they don't care. My friend has so many things that get him sick on a weekly basic, yet he never changes his bad habits ever. It's too inconvenient. So, the other day he was complaining that his cholesterol was really good, and he should stop taking that medicine. yet he says his numbers stay the same. I try to tell him that all he does is eat cholesterol foods, and that day it burns up what he ate. that his waist, and stomach has so much fat that they can't even strip his legs for veins. yet he still ignores everything, and I feel that he enjoys playing the victim. I really can see why his doctor relates to him like he does. it's like talking to a wall.
    1553 days ago
    My first doctor when I got married and had babies 1969, 1970 and 1975 was great and would tell me I needed to be careful weight-wise while I was pregnant but never "preached" to me about it. When he retired due to heart problems in the early 1990's, I have gone through about 7 different doctors and none really said anything about weight issues unless I mentioned them. I do have a good dr. now that supports everything I am doing weight-wise and does give some tips and advice.
    1553 days ago
    Good POV (point of view).
    1554 days ago
    yes hard to find a doctor that really cares mine does
    1554 days ago
  • KITT52
    maybe your doctor was waiting for you to ask for help...
    and if you were not there for weight related issues , she did not feel she should talk about it....
    I see more doctors blaming weight for any issue you go in for...
    I must say for 35 years I had the most wonderful Dr. who helped in a kind and caring way to loose weight...he was a young healthy man 35 years back and I watched him gain weight and have other issues...when I went the last time after dropping 200+ pounds he asked me for help and advice how to loose weight....
    1554 days ago
    Interesting topic! My doctor, who was a jewel, never mentioned my extreme obesity (40 plus BMI) even though I was a frequent visitor to his office, with issues that truly were aggravated by my weight! Perhaps physicians aren't taught how to address topics such as obesity with patients who don't bring the subject up themselves!!! Hmmmm....

    1554 days ago
    I find doctors tend me so uncarrying and unfeeling a lot of times. To find one who cares about the total patient is a miracle. Luckily I have found three of them, and two don't take insurance so they are not rushed into seeing the next patient and do not have that 8 patients in one hour rule like a lot of practices
    1554 days ago
    emoticon as long as the advice I get is a benefit for me ...I dont care if the person is overweight /smoker or not. . my Dr. is overweight & I'M ONLY TO HAPPY TO LISTEN TO HIM IN SUGGESTING THAT I LOSE WEIGHT.
    1554 days ago
    Not that I agree, the reason people are not inclined to accept advice from an overweight doctor about weight is die to trust & credibility. Humans are funny & often illogical creatures.
    1554 days ago
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