Diet & Weight Magazine

Lying to Doctors for Healthcare

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

Lying to Doctors for HealthcareI talk a lot on this blog about how to advocate for yourself with healthcare providers – facts and figures that you can use, and phrases that help etc.  I want to make sure I’m clear that fat people shouldn’t have to do any of that, and that the ability to do it is a privilege and a luxury that not everyone has.

I talked about this recently on Christy Harrison’s fabulous podcast Food Psych. I have a lot of privileges that allow me to stand up to doctors – I’m white, cis, currently able-bodied and neurotypical, currently have “good numbers,” and am typically assumed to be hetero which, because of racism, transphobia, ableism, healthism, and homophobia gives me a ton of privilege. Add to that,  I good memory for facts and figures (if not for names and dates!) an education in research and statistics, a lot of doctors to choose from (thanks Obamacare!) and the ability in these situations to be furious and remain calm and logical (which, because so many doctors have screwed up ideas of which patients should be listened to and respected, gives me a better chance of being listened to and respected.) That’s a lot of luck of the draw stuff that helps me out.

So a question I get a lot, especially after my recent post about self-advocacy at the doctor’s office, is what about people who don’t have this as an option. It can happen for lots of reasons – from a lack of choice of doctors, to not being a physical mental space where someone can self-advocate (and, again, there’s nothing wrong with that since we should have to prepare for a doctor’s appointment like we’re on the frickin’ debate team.)

First of all (yes, I’m going to say this again) remember that you shouldn’t be in this position in the first place – doctors should not try to prescribe dieting at all since the most common outcome is weight regain, with a majority of people gaining more than they lost – so weight loss does not meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine. Basically, your doctor is committing malpractice and you’re having to overlook it because of your circumstances, and that sucks, and it’s not your fault.

I want to dismantle medical fatphobia, but I also want the people who are being harmed and killed by medical fatphobia to get help now.  Knowing that, each person needs to decide their own personal boundaries, including taking into account that there may be downsides to misleading your healthcare professional  – it’s sad that sometimes we have to take those risks just to get a chance at decent healthcare, but that’s what happens when we have healthcare in a fatphobic world.

The most common situation that I hear about happens when a doctor is trying to prescribe weight loss for a health issue for which a thin person would get an evidence-based intervention (which is basically every health issue that exists.) Consider asking a question like “Out of curiosity, what is the treatment for thin people who get this health issue?” or “If I lose the weight and still have the health issue, what would my options be at that point?”

Once you’ve established that there is an actual treatment protocol besides attempting to manipulate your size (and there always is,) then you can request a simultaneous treatment, for example “That makes sense. Since dieting can be so unpredictable – especially for people like me with a life long history of yo-yo dieting, and can take a long time regardless, I would like to start the treatment that you just mentioned, and I’ll try weight loss as well, that way we’re doing everything we can for my health.” Then you can do the actual treatment and skip the weight loss. When you come back ask the doctor to focus on the actual health issue and say you’ll keep trying with weight loss.

When the doctor is asking you to consider amputating part of your stomach the stakes get a lot higher.  I once had a doctor tell me that he would withhold treatment unless I went to a stomach amputation recruitment rally (though I’m pretty sure they called it something else.) I refused and argued, but I could just as easily have said “sure, I’ll go.” It’s not like he could have un-set my broken toe if I never went (and unless I was actively protesting it there’s not way I would.)

Sadly in some cases doctors are insisting on stomach amputation (also known as “weight loss surgery”) as a requirement before a fat person can get other medical treatment.  This could not be more fucked up.  First of all, I can’t believe how many people I’ve heard from whose doctor said they couldn’t do a routine surgery because it they claim surgery is too dangerous at their size, and then recommend… you guessed it, stomach amputation surgery.

While people are allowed to choose to have their stomach (or any other body part as far as I’m concerned) amputated, I want to make it very clear that if you are going to choose WLS, then the thing you are trying to fix had better be worth dying for, because dying is a distinct possibility. It’s also a possibility that you’ll be one of the many, many people who has such horrible lifelong side effects that they would do anything to take back the surgery.  To me, a doctor requiring that I amputate my stomach before they’ll treat an actual health issue is time to pull out all the stops  – look for a doctor out of network (or the state, or the country) and try to find a way to fund it, file a medical ethics complaint, do whatever I can do because that is a line that I will not cross.

I’m for healthcare without bigotry and from a Health at Every Size paradigm. Until that’s a reality, I’m for people doing whatever they have to do to get the care they need within their own personal boundaries.

Upcoming Talk

Hey, are you in or near Lexington, Kentucky?  Because I’m going to be.  I’ll be speaking in Lexington on the 25th. Click here for all the details. (I’m also open to doing other talks while I’m there so if you know a group that would like to host a talk or dance class, or a class that would like a guest lecturer, e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!)

Did you miss the fourth annual Fat Activism Conference?  Good news – for two weeks you can still get access to all the materials (recordings, transcripts, and handouts) for listening, reading and downloading!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Mitsubishi A6M3 Reisen (Zero)

    Mitsubishi A6M3 Reisen (Zero)

    @ Camarillo Municipal Airport, CA August 2017 A rare flyable Zero performs a flyby at the Wings Over Camarillo airshow.  This aircraft was recovered from New... Read more

    The 16 July 2018 by   Htam
    PHOTOGRAPHY, SOCIETY
  • 8 Ways To Instill A Sense Of Purpose In Your Startup

    Ways Instill Sense Purpose Your Startup

    Starting a new venture and thriving in today’s economy is hard, but the best have figured out that customers and employees need to feel that you have a sense... Read more

    The 16 July 2018 by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • Karakoram Summer 2018: Summits on Broad Peak, Missing Climber Found by Drone

    Karakoram Summer 2018: Summits Broad Peak, Missing Climber Found Drone

    While the teams on K2 sit, wait, and watch the weather, things have been progressing in other parts of the Karakoram. In our last update from the end of last... Read more

    The 16 July 2018 by   Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS
  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: A Second Look

    Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Second Look

    When I wrote my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks post last Thursday I wrote it that day, early in the morning, and it seems during a time when the site was... Read more

    The 16 July 2018 by   Wardrobeoxygen
    FASHION, SELF EXPRESSION, SHOPPING
  • Salmon with Olive-pistachio Tapenade and Tomatoes

    A foolproof trio loaded with flavor: moist and flavorful salmon dressed up with a juicy olive and crunchy pistachio tapenade. This simple, but elegant, dish... Read more

    The 16 July 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Vintage Avon Lady Beauty Tips 1946

    Vintage Avon Lady Beauty Tips 1946

    Simple beauty advice for the 1940s woman – Vintage-Avon-beauty-Tips-1946—the-elbows Elbow Tips: Keep them from getting rough by massaging Night Cream over them... Read more

    The 16 July 2018 by   Glamourdaze
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • Top 10 French Albums

    French Albums

    The FIFA World Cup has come to an end with France being crowned World Champions! To mark the occasions we have compiled the Top 10 French albums of all time.... Read more

    The 16 July 2018 by   Tomatrax
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC