Worcester Dr. Helen M. Carter caused a stir last week with reports on her plan to turn away new patients who weigh more than 200 pounds, citing injuries to staff and financial concerns. Readers had a lot to say about it. Their comments generally opposed the rule, calling it unfair or unfounded.
Reader Grindersd saw it as just: You have a doctor who runs a private business who has suffered extra hassle and expense as a result of handling obese patients. She made a perfectly reasonable business decision. And let’s get something clear. She is not turning down the person. ... She is turning down the extra weight. A human being can lose weight through any number of methods, be it diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes as well as surgery. I am positive the doctor would gladly accept a new patient who was once obese but worked to take and keep off the weight. No more excuses folks. The research and the tools are there for you to get fit and healthy. If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself, why should anyone else?
Others questioned the logic and legality of the rule. Kat2010 wrote: I’m wondering how the screening works? Unsuspecting Potential Patient: Hello, I’m a new patient and would like to make an appointment Secretary: You don’t weigh more than 200 lbs. do you? Unsuspecting Potential Patient: Uh, why is this relevant to my head cold? I weigh 205. Secretary: “Click” I wish this doctor luck. Sometimes weight gain/loss is actually a medical issue, but obviously non-routine medicine is above this doctor’s pay grade. Her patients should take notice.
When I was talking to friends about Carter this weekend, we all wondered, why 200 pounds? That figure is not a clear measure of health. Tall, muscular people can easily weigh more than 200 pounds. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, for example, weighs 225.
PeregrinesBoat raised this issue: So BMI and height mean nothing? I know someone who weighs 250, 6-foot-four, solid and healthy as an oak tree. I know someone who is 140 lbs. and almost spherical in shape. In a free market at least we are free to go to other doctors, ones who do not pre-diagnose with their prejudices and who use more critical thinking.