August 24, 2005

Doc gives needed advice, woman files complaint

"It's your weight, ... and there's dozens of programs," Bennett said. "You don't have to come in here. You can join Jenny Craig. You can go see Weight Watchers."

This is essentially what Dr. Terry Bennett told a patient. But the patient got pissed off.

Bennett said he tells obese patients that their weight is bad for their health and their love lives. But the lecture drove one patient to write a letter to the Board of Medicine, which has passed on the complaint to the Attorney General's Office.

"Did I sleep with somebody? Did I give somebody drugs? Was I careless? No. End of story," Bennett said. "That should have been the end of it."

We agree. Bennett even apologized:

"I'm sorry. If she's watching, I'm devoutly sorry to have offended you. I didn't mean to offend you. I meant to tell you the truth. And that's what I tried to do."

Sounds good to us, doc. Unfortunately, we wouldn't be surprised if some ultra-nutty lawsuit comes your way next.

Posted by Felix at August 24, 2005 07:00 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the doctor _may_ have done something wrong.

As an, ahem, ample woman, I can attest to the fact that people of size get second-class-citizen treatment here in the US. Many times at Doctors' offices, obesity is treated as a disease and not a symptom of a disease, which is what it truly is. Granted, there are a lot of health problems associated with obesity. However, not all obese people are unhealthy. Sometimes we just catch a damn cold.

I can tell you of at least 5 times where I went to a previous doctor for ailments unrelated to my chunky physique and was told that losing weight would take care of it. Really, imagine losing 20 pounds solving a sinus infection or the fact that I lost my voice for a week each month for 5 consecutive months. (he never did solve that one, by the way)

As for the love lives of the larger set, has the doctor never heard of Chubby Chasers? Plus, not to be too graphic, but there are different moves that more voluptuous women can pull off that skinny beeyotches just can't do. I don't think the woman's love life, unless it was the topic of the consultation, is any of the physician's business.

Now, I can't say that he deserves to be sued. I just think he should keep patients' love lives out of his office.

What say you?

Posted by: Bronwen at August 25, 2005 06:39 PM

Well, as an ample-sized man, I'm glad this doctor said something to her. He should've said it to her while dangling a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in front of her face. I'm a lard-ass. I tell myself everyday. Many doctors have told me the same thing. The truth hurts. It's the doctor's job to ensure the overall health of his patients. This chick didn't want to hear it.

Posted by: Mike M. at August 25, 2005 10:51 PM


I don't have a quibble with obesity causing health problems. It's established fact and I admit I eat waaaaay too much chocolate and fast food.

I don't think it was appropriate for the doc to talk about the woman's love life and insinuate that she wouldn't be getting any dates. In what medical textbook does it say that humiliation is a great motivator? Especially for the obese, who very often smother their problems with food (speaking from experience, here).

I think that his comments about the woman's love life were inappropriate. Imagine a doctor telling an underweight woman to gain a few pounds because men don't want to make love to skeletons. Do you think that would happen? Would you consider that to be acceptable? I wouldn't.

Posted by: Bronwen at August 26, 2005 09:21 AM

Broween: I understand where you're coming from, but is there absolutely no basis for the doc's point about love lives? I certainly don't know, but could he be talking about increased heart rate (that goes along w/sex ... at least for most of us!) and the fact that overweight (obese) folks are much more prone to heart disease? I'd also think an emaciated woman would be in such "danger" as well, too.

Posted by: Hube at August 26, 2005 04:21 PM

Hube, you've missed my point.

While the concerns about increased heart rate and heart disease are valid, there is no reason to bring sex into the discussion here. You can get an increased heart rate by climbing one flight of stairs - which occurs far more frequently than having sex (at least in my sad life).

It's not as though "the obese" don't know that their dating lives are going to be impaired by their appearances. Duh. We live in a very image-conscious society. It's just plain humiliating for the doctor to choose that particular tack when dealing with an obese patient. We know, ok? If humiliation was a good motivator, no one would be obese.

Basically, it all boils down to this: it's not what he said, it's how he said it. You know as well as I that the delivery of any news can greatly affect how people accept it.

Posted by: Bronwen at August 26, 2005 10:39 PM

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