It is common for a person’s weight to fluctuate throughout their life, and if you find yourself classified as overweight, it may bring up some concerns. However, if you go to the doctor concerned about symptoms you are experiencing, it could be problematic if they automatically chalk it up to your weight instead of thoroughly investigating.
How does “fat shaming” present itself in the medical field?
“Fat shaming” is a serious problem among medical professionals. It’s a form of discrimination that can be both psychologically and physically harmful, especially when medical providers suggest that weight loss is the solution to their patients’ problems instead of looking closer at their actual complaints.
There are numerous ways that medical biases and stereotyping involving people who are overweight can affect the quality of medical care that they receive, including:
- Inferior care: Research indicates that doctors often routinely ignore the physical complaints of their overweight patients. Meanwhile, a thinner patient with the same physical complaints will be given all kinds of diagnostic tests, including blood work, CAT scans and more.
- Missing and delayed diagnoses: Autopsy studies have indicated that overweight patients were 1.65 times more likely than their thinner counterparts to suffer from serious, undiagnosed medical conditions. This indicates that overweight patients aren’t being diagnosed properly when they have a serious illness.
- Denial of care: No patient should have to beg their doctor for diagnostic tests or appropriate medical care, but some doctors will take a patient’s inability to lose weight as a “refusal” to follow their medical advice. They may refuse to continue to treat a patient they see as non-compliant — even when that patient’s medical problems are affecting their ability to lose weight.
If you suffer an injury because a doctor was too focused on your weight to pay attention to what was really happening with your health, it may be time to seek some experienced guidance. Substandard medical care is never acceptable. You have a right to seek compensation for your losses due to medical malpractice.