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Doctor targeted on lecture to patient

Weight warning draws complaint

ROCHESTER, N.H. -- A doctor's warning that a patient should lose weight has backfired, with a woman filing a complaint with the state saying he was hurtful, not helpful.

Dr. Terry Bennett said his lecture to an obese patient about her weight drove the patient to complain. ''I told a fat woman she was obese," Bennett said. ''I tried to get her attention. I told her, 'You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people, and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.' "

He says he wrote a letter of apology to the woman when he learned she was offended.

Her complaint, filed about a year ago, was investigated by a panel of the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, which recommended that Bennett be sent a confidential letter of concern. The board rejected the suggestion in December and asked the attorney general's office to investigate. Bennett rejected that office's proposal that he attend a medical education course and acknowledge that he made a mistake.

Neither Bruce Friedman, chairman of the board of medicine, nor Assistant Attorney General Catherine Bernhard would comment.

The board's website says disciplinary sanctions may range from a reprimand to the revocation of all rights to practice in the state.

''Physicians have to be professional with patients and remember everyone is an individual. You should not be inflammatory or degrading to anyone," said board member Kevin Costin.

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