Seeking healthcare whilst fat

Hello lovelies.

I apologise for the rant and possible swearing about to spew forth from me. I am seeing everything through a red mist of outrage.

Before I begin, I'd like to give examples to the slim readers amongst us to what seeking healthcare whilst fat is like. Unless you have fat friends or family you might have no idea what it's like to be seeking healthcare whilst in a fat body.

1.Patient: I've got this pain in my shoulder, it's going down my arm and up to my neck. I can hardly move my arm at all.
Doctor: It sounds like frozen shoulder to me. Here's a diet leaflet, you'd feel a lot better if you lost some weight. (No help or advice given with the frozen shoulder. Patient saw another doctor weeks later who gave painkillers and an advice leaflet about exercises to do.)

2. Patient: I've been seeing Dr XYZ for a while, but here's not here today. He thinks I have *insert very rare and serious medical condition which can kill you*
Doctor: There's nothing wrong with you. Dr XYZ doesn't think you have that.
Patient: Yes he does, it's in my records.
Doctor: (doesn't bother to look) You're just obese.
Patient: (cries)
Doctor: (starts speaking really slowly and patronisingly, like he's dealing with a five year old) Do you think you're depressed? WHY do you think you might be depressed? (goes on to dictate a letter to secretary in front of patient, in which he refers to patient as 'an unfortunate woman'.)

3. Patient: I came to see you two weeks ago after I had a serious fall at home and put my back out. You said to come back after two weeks if the pain hadn't improved.
Doctor: (shouts) Get on the scales!
Patient: (complies, not too sure how it relates to an injury from a fall.)
Doctor: (shouts) Stop laying around feeling depressed, lose weight and get a job!!!' (Gives no painkillers.)
Patient: (shuffles out in tears of pain and frustration.)

4. Patient: I've been sent (to this hospital) to confirm a diagnosis by my hospital consultant (from another hospital) as he thinks I have *insert chronic disabling illness*
Doctor: Exactly how many burgers do you eat a week then?
Patient: :O :O :O :O :O :O :O :O

In all of those cases, the patient was me. 

Those are just the recent incidents which spring to mind, I've probably pushed more out of my mind. 

The reason why I'm so irate today is because my mum saw a doctor of the same ilk at her local hospital a couple of days ago. I only found out yesterday because she didn't want to tell me. She didn't want to tell me because she knew I'd blow my top. My mum got an umbilical hernia giving birth to my brother, and has since had about 5 operations to save her life as it has strangulated a few times and she's also had horrific abdominal adhesions. Basically she's scarred from just under her tits to her pubic mound. She's been opened up like a pie so many times she doesn't have a belly button and she looks like a hot cross bun that got 'decorated' by Freddy Kreuger. Now she has 3 hernias, and her whole insides are a mess. When she had the worst strangulation, it affected her bowel and it started to die, so they had to take out lots of intestines and part of her bowel. She constantly has pain - both when hungry and when she's eaten. Sometimes the pain is bearable, and other times she ends up at the hospital. My mum has a couple of 'extra' stones on her, but I wouldn't say she's particularly fat. She's worked hard for years to lose weight to get her doctor off her back.

The local hospital to where she lives is nicknamed 'Death Valley' thanks to its wonderful care of patients. When my mum was last in hospital having a hernia operation (last year) I honestly thought they were going to kill her. It's the only hospital I know of where you have a 10 minute walk (at an ill person's pace) through the hospital itself to reach the A&E department. They were really focussed on patient care there, weren't they? In my mum's hometown they used to have 3 hospitals, and the surrounding towns they used to have hospitals too, but they shut them all down and decided to build one enormous monstrosity to save money. Basically, it doesn't work from the perspective of patient care, because there are too many people trying to use it. there have been times when they've shut because they have no beds. Great!

Anyway, so off she goes to the hospital with my step dad to wait in the waiting room, which is 110 degrees at all times and usually so crowded patients have to wait on their own while family members loiter outside in the corridor. After 4 hours of sitting there in absolute agony, having already been triaged, she saw a 'doctor'. I put the word in inverted commas as I think his actual title should be Chief Torturer.

Before I tell you about mum's examination, let me explain to you a common misconception about fat people. Sometimes people, including doctors, seem to assume if you're fat, you're stupid. Too stupid to realise you're fat perhaps, or too stupid to do anything about it. See point 2 above, for example, and perhaps other fats might have experienced this if they've had the misfortune to seek healthcare whilst fat and seen a total TOOL.

Anyhoo, mum told Dr Death she has multiple hernias and her entire stomach area is really tender at the best of times, let alone now. Obviously a doctor has to have a feel around to see what hurts, and when you're in pain that's going to make you wince, say owww or flinch away. I've been told myself by doctors that when a person is carrying extra weight it can be harder to determine what's going on by feel alone.

The way Mum described the way this fella was examining her was that he was almost gleeful at hurting her. He was virtually elbow deep in her stomach area, asking as he went if where he was pressing was sore. Of course, everywhere hurt for the aforementioned reasons, and then he started to be patronising. 'Does this hurt?' 'Ow!' 'Does THIS hurt?' 'Ow!' Does this and this and this hurt?' 'Ow, ow, ow!' Then the patronising little toad grabbed her hand, tapped it and said 'Does that hurt too?'

Patronising sack of SHIT.

I am absolutely *expletive expletive expletive* fuming on her behalf.

Would he have been such an arsehole if she was slim? I don't know. He might be a twat to everyone. He's probably overworked, underpaid and as bitter as a grapefruit about the way the Government are shafting the NHS. Does that excuse his behaviour? Not an effing jot! I err towards assuming he was particularly foul to her because he saw her as fat and stupid because it's happened to me before, it's happened to her before, and it's probably happened to thousands of fat people all over the world. You only have to Google 'doctor fat prejudice' to see loads of articles about it.

Have you ever been treated like shit like a doctor because you're fat? Tell us your stories.
Have you ever complained about a doctor? (I have!)
Maybe you're a doctor or other healthcare professional - care to share your opinion?
Care to balance things up - are you thin and have a story of a hideous doctor?


I have a really good GP now and have been treated really respectfully by most of the consultants I've seen at my local hospital. However, when someone is SO foul, like in the 4 examples I gave at the top of this post, it does give you a fear and cynicism of seeking healthcare whilst in a fat body.

I realise this is a contentious issue, so let's have some polite discourse.

Thanks for reading!

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